Coffs Community Lunch a success with 100 guests and 40 volunteers

Doris Cowan, Christmas Community Lunch coordinator with volunteer brothers, Nick and Jamie Newling.

 

THE Coffs Community Lunch on Christmas Day was a super success with a full capacity of 100 people booked in who enjoyed a heartfelt, happy time.

“Guests ranged from the homeless to people on their own and families,” event coordinator Doris Cowan told News Of The Area.

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“The most rewarding part of the day for me was when I took a moment to look around the room and see the joy on people’s faces.

“We had 40-plus volunteers, giving back for a variety of reasons including having a purpose and we received many generous community donations of food, presents, time and money.”

These included: Rotary, Happy Frog, Priceline Pharmacy, Woolworths, Coles, Oz Harvest, Spare Chef, CEX, Quality Meats, Park Beach Resort Motel, Banana Coast Bakery, PFD, Soup Kitchen and Crazy Sam’s Woolgoolga.

“As well as those donors who did not want a mention, they just wanted to help, I would like to thank: Christine Burton for organising desserts through church members, Margaret Fox for money donations from the Baptist church, Justine Bonny for help with wrapping presents, Angie and Debbie for their guidance and supplies from previous Orphans Christmas’, Linda Williams for collection of non-perishables throughout the year, Mick and Sheryl Tamim for help in so many ways, Anne Barca, Karen Teske, Jannene and Chris Peterson, Nicole Clough, Meri Oakwood, Irene Tolhurst, Dee Sunni and Mum Elizabeth for donating flower arrangements, Karen White for stepping in to coordinate a stall at Jetty Markets, donated by Kim from Happy Frog, and for selling raffle tickets with a team of volunteers throughout the day.

“Also thanking the working bee team on Christmas Eve at my house, all who helped prior or on the day and made everything come together with ease, Anna Joy from Neighbourhood Centre, Anna Smith from Pete’s Place,
Mick Collins alias Santa Claus, handing out presents in anything but an orderly fashion, Maree and Lynton for the amazing singing of carols with audience participation – this couple married this year at 84 years young – and last but not least I would like to thank my new husband who supported me from the start, even if it meant that our house was in chaos for a few weeks and my nights were very late.

“The donated presents totalled 235, with enough to run two raffles for fundraising, not only to contribute to the day but also some left over to start the overnight homeless shelter, newly named as The 3Rs – Rest, Refuel and Recover.

“All participants seemed to have a great time and there was much gratitude all round.

“Many participants had a heartfelt story to tell including homelessness, loneliness through loss of partner, illness and disabilities.

“On the day I had people unable to get to the event and I was able to organise takeaway meals for them.

The event was held at the Cavanbah Hall in Harbour Drive, which is a Council owned building allowing people with mobility aids easy access.

“As a major not-for-profit event in times of Covid we were fortunate to be able to hold this function just a few days out of re-introduction of restrictions on social distancing and QR coding, so thank you Coffs Council for your continued support.

“As the coordinator I have both learnt and had feedback on what can be improved for next year, yet overall I was very happy with the outcome as it served the purpose of providing a Community Christmas to bring joy to all involved.

“I look forward to continuing in this volunteer role to support not only the housing crisis in the Coffs Harbour area but also with re-integrating people back into the community with a purpose to their lives, supported by many selfless volunteers with a holistic approach.

To make a donation or volunteer in 2022 contact Doris at [email protected] or phone 0411428761.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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