A free Christmas lunch for senior citizens who would have otherwise spent the day alone has been called a ‘huge success’ by organisers.
Held at the Shoreham Centre, almost 50 traditional Christmas lunches were prepared and served by a staff made up of around 28 volunteers, including families who brought their children along to help out.
Geoff Howitt, a trustee at the Shoreham Community Trust, said the day was ‘much enjoyed’ by everyone there.
Mr Howitt said that one of the young volunteers who gave up her time was moved to tears by the occasion and said: “I never realised so many people were on their own on Christmas Day.”
Food donations came from Bidviz and Brakes, suppliers of food at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Sainsburys at Lyons Farm, and from the Longshore, he said.
After the centre made an appeal for donations to the community, they received donations of £200 in cash, 20 bottles of wine, 60 gifts for the Christmas tree and sweets for the tables.
Entertainment was provided by James and Rossana Lelean along with guests from the Woodard Academy. Volunteers also offered transport for the diners.
The idea for the Christmas lunch came from Cheryl Bailey, catering manager at the Sir Robert Woodward Academy, who also works weekends in the Centre café.
She and Vicky Stitt were the chefs on the day, with the help of Duncan Walkman the cafe manager.
Janice Roberts, a trustee at the Shoreham Centre, organised the use of the centre, the volunteers, donations and communications with the community.
She said of the atmosphere at the lunch: “The chatting was amazing – no one really knew each other, but people were talking and making new friends, which was great.
“People went away saying what a wonderful day it had been.”
She thanked the public for their donations and for volunteering their time.
“The one thing that shocked me more than anything was how the community got on board,” she said.
“The community showed how much they cared.”
She added that she hopes Christmas lunch may become an annual event and hopes for more charities to get involved next year.
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