Christmas for Those Alone will continue for its 15th year thanks to a generous donation.By Ashleigh Williamson
Peg Newman proudly claims an annual free community Christmas lunch in Shepparton has never denied guests.
Money from the Community Fund Goulburn Valley has ensured the lunch will happen for a 15th year.
Christmas for Those Alone secretary Peg Newman said the donation would cover the cost of the lunch and presents for guests.
Mrs Newman said the event would likely have been cancelled if not for the donation.
‘‘We will probably do a Christmas in July next year to build some money and apply for funds as we do every year,’’ she said.
‘‘We have never turned anyone away and I don’t think we ever will.’’
Mrs Newman is one of 12 volunteers on the event’s new organising committee.
She said most of the former committee left after years of volunteering.
‘‘There was nothing acrimonious, they just wanted a change,’’ she said.
Robin Harwood and Tony Jerome started the free Christmas lunch after identifying a need for somewhere lonely or vulnerable people could go to share the special day.
The first lunch had 54 people attend Shepparton Senior Citizen’s Hall.
Increased popularity forced the event to move to Monsignor Bones Hall at Notre Dame College, where up to 350 people can attend.
Committee treasurer and chef Terri Wyatt sources food and drink donations to cook a three-course lunch.
The community also donates gifts for lunch guests.
‘‘People are so generous,’’ Mrs Newman said.
‘‘It’s a great community event.’’
Committee member Sam Commisso will play music at this year’s lunch.
The lunch will be at Monsignor Bones Hall, Knight St, from 11
All are welcome, with buses available to take people to and from the event.
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