A giant Christmas tree and festive tables are taking shape at the Dunedin Town Hall, as final preparations are made for the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner.
Organised each year by the Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, the popular annual event welcomes people who find themselves alone for Christmas, or who are unable to prepare a festive meal for themselves.
An army of volunteer chefs and food preparation assistants will cook 100kg of potatoes, 50kg of peas, 50kg of carrots, to go with 100kg of hogget and 60kg of roast pork cooked by Compass chefs.
They will also decorate 40 pavlovas and dozens of Christmas cakes for up to 520 guests.
The food will be plated by 20 volunteers and served by 40 waiters, under the guidance of seven maitre d’s.
Dozens more volunteers will be decorating the town hall, acting as table hosts for the expected 500-plus guests, and providing musical entertainment.
Acts of Kindness trustees Grant and Anne Hardy and John Watson took over managing the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner from founders Dave and Jean Brown, and this year will be the sixth time it has been held in the Dunedin Town Hall.
“We believe in the power of community and the strength of bringing people together,” Mr Hardy said.
“This event is really the community serving the community, and it is a wonderful occasion.
“We know there are people out there in Dunedin facing Christmas alone, and we really want them to join us for some good food and company.”
The guests would be divided into tables of 10 people, each with a host, which would help to create a family atmosphere for the day, he said.
As the Mosgiel Christmas Lunch had to be cancelled this year, the welcome mat was also being rolled out for Mosgiel people to join the throng at Dunedin Town Hall to celebrate Christmas.
The trust was grateful for the support of DVML and Compass in making the Dunedin Town Hall available through the Community Grants Scheme and preparing a magnificent Christmas feast.
People who wish to attend the Christmas dinner are asked to book by phoning Dunedin Community House on 471-6150, or online at dch.org.nz.