Helping hands bring Christmas spirit to community

MERRY AND BRIGHT: Community Christmas Day Lunch second in command Kevin KD Douglas is looking forward to this years event. Picture: File

Sophie Conlon

Some of Santa Claus’ favourite volunteers are busy preparing to cook a feast for the Mount Gambier/ Berrin community on Christmas Day.

Kevin ‘KD’ Douglas has been helping organise the Mount Gambier Community Christmas Lunch for so long that he cannot remember when he first got involved, but said he would not have it any other way.

He said helping out the community on the day of celebration was a great feeling.

“This gives you a great feeling just to see the smile on the face,” he said.

“All the volunteers, they’re very tired at the end, but they just feel so rewarded that this is nearly our guests helping the volunteers.”

Last year the team gave away 170 meals, but Mr Douglas said this Christmas they were expecting up to 200 people to come along.

“Keeping our eyes open about the economy and seeing that Sunset Kitchen and those places, their numbers of meals are going up I can’t see us being any different,” he said.

Mr Douglas said some of these 200 meals would be takeaway, catering for people who could not cope with the busy atmosphere of the event.

“They might sit outside in the Cave Gardens and enjoy the scenery there if the weather’s suitable, or take it home at their leisure,” he said.

“But again, they’ll go away with a smile on their face.”

Mr Douglas said the event was there for everyone, people who might not have anyone to celebrate with, or those who might not be able to afford a Christmas lunch of their own.

“A lot of people don’t have a lot to do on Christmas Day but that’s what we’re catering for, so they’re not sitting home on their own,” he said.

“If people are doing that, we’d like them to contact us and come along.

“We don’t want anybody to go hungry on Christmas Day, especially if they’ve got kids at home.”

The event will include a three course meal, entertainment and attendees will leave with a gift bag.

Mr Douglas said they were on the hunt for donations of everyday items, like toiletries, for the bags.

“We look forward to any donations that individuals can make,” he said.

“We’ll have some bags suitable for children as well.”

Donations can be dropped off at Bendigo Bank or the Mount Gambier Golf Club.

For those needing help with transport to the event, Mr Douglas said there would be a bus decked out in Christmas decorations and a few taxis around to help out.

There will be around 20 volunteers helping on the day, with prep starting over the weekend and there are a few volunteer spots still available for those who want to help out.

Bookings are open from Friday, December 1.

Those wanting to book in for lunch can contact Kevin Douglas on 0418 840 947.

Those wanting to volunteer can call Vicki Clarke on 0488 100 062.