Town hall venue for community Xmas lunch

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The buzz of Christmas cheer will fill the Dunedin Town Hall for the fifth time as an army of volunteers gears up for the popular annual Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner.

Hosted by the Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, the giant community event aims to make Christmas special for people who may be in need at this time of the year.

Trustees Grant and Anne Hardy, and John Watson, took over managing the long-standing community event from founders Dave and Jean Brown, and this will be the fifth time it will be held at Dunedin Town Hall.

“It’s fantastic for us to be able to have Christmas dinner in the beautiful town hall, which is all decorated up for the occasion,” Mrs Hardy said.

Up to 600 people are expected to enjoy the free event, which will run from 11.30am to 2.30pm on Christmas Day and include a traditional Christmas dinner, conversation, and musical entertainment.

Compere for the event will be Alasdair Morrison.

With more than 50 tables of diners to cater for – each with a host – the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner requires a huge volume of food and a massive volunteer effort to bring together.

Those attending the meal will dine on hogget, pork, potatoes, vegetables, Christmas pudding, pavlova, cream, custard and fruit.

Vegetarian options will also be available.

Mr Hardy said all the food and other items were either donated or heavily subsidised by local businesses.

The event would not be possible without the support of Compass Catering Ltd, which provided a head chef to lead dozens of food preparation volunteers, and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) for providing the town hall as a venue under its community events scheme.

The Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner had a great team of regular volunteers, and Mr Hardy was regularly contacted by people keen to help out, including families from overseas planning to be in Dunedin on the day.

“It’s wonderful how generous people are with their time on Christmas Day,” Mr Hardy said.

Registrations are open for guests, with bookings being taken through Dunedin Community House, phone 471-6150, or email dch.org.nz