Keen to spread Christmas cheer
Seeing the joy spread over an elderly person’s face, or the twinkle in the eye of a youngster is what makes Matamata’s Community Christmas lunch special.
Giving up their own Christmas day to put on a lunch for the community isn’t a chore, but a buzz for those who help organise the special event.
Committee members come from ‘‘all walks of life’’ to help out with preparations for the day.
Cathy Blacklock moved to Matamata from Wellington two years ago and this year will be her second Christmas lunch.
‘‘ I’m a widow and have two grown up sons who don’t live in town and I thought I wanted to get involved in something, to be part of the community.
‘‘ My husband and I always meant to do it down in Wellington but we never got around to it. It’s brilliant, I love doing it.’’
And the best part about being involved?
‘‘Everybody is so happy. You can’t help but get a buzz from it, just being there.’’
Blacklock said she doesn’t mind giving up her own Christmas day for her community.
She said in the lead up to last year’s event, committee members were a little scared as she’d had a heart attack a month prior but she said the lunch even provided her with motivation to get well. ‘‘It was a good thing to be involved in.’’
festive lunch can involve lots of preparation including setting up the tables, dishing up food, clearing up after. Planning for the day begins in September by a group of eight to 10 committee members. Plenty more helpers simply give up their time on the day.
Mary and Ivan Lasenby got involved with the lunch through their church and have helped for two or three years.
Mary said a highlight of being involved was witnessing people’s joy of being there and seeing how much they enjoy it when they arrive.
It was also the generosity of the people of Matamata who donate transport, funds and food for the day. ‘‘They just come together, there are very generous people,’’ she said.
Ivan said seeing this happen was ‘‘unreal’’. ‘‘It just blows you away’’. The group said the town’s service clubs also ‘‘come to the party’’ and help out tremendously.
‘‘ On the day it’s just a real buzz,’’ Mary said.
‘‘I think although you’re giving, you get more in return,’’ she said.
Mary felt the lunch told the real story of Christmas.
‘‘It’s the whole love thing, which is what Christmas is about. People who don’t know each other get to know each other and sit together and enjoy company.’’
The trio stress the lunch isn’t just for those who aren’t able to hold their own Christmas lunch. It is also for those who are on their own and even families.
There are no shortage of helpers on the day. Many are already phoning in to see what they can do to help this year. Transport, both collection and drop off, can also be provided for those who need it.
- For bookings and information, phone Mary on 888 5100.
CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Community Christmas lunch committee volunteers, from left, Mary and Ivan Lasenby and Cathy Blacklock, are in preparation mode for this year’s big day.