Samaritans Christmas Lunch In The Park to feed hungry mouths on Christmas Day

ABOUT 1000 hungry mouths will be fed next Wednesday when the Samaritans holds its annual Christmas Lunch In The Park.

Organisers estimate that about 800 guests and 200 volunteers will pack out Newcastle Foreshore rail sheds for the 12th annual Christmas Day feast.

The free event runs on the generosity of the community through donations of food, services and time.

Cold ham, turkey and chicken will be served up to the guests, along with bread, fruit and salad.

Everyone who comes along will also receive a gift.

Samaritans Christmas Lunch In The Park co-ordinator Laura Dawson said she was pleased by how quickly offers from volunteers and businesses had flooded in.

Organisers had to make a waiting list for volunteer positions, as the demand to participate was so great.

"Some of them have been doing it for the whole 12 years it's been running," she said.

"It's very rewarding to do something for others at Christmas time."

She said the Samaritans saw hundreds of people every year who needed a bit of extra cheer on Christmas Day, including those who were spending it alone.

"These events are really important for community spirit and contribute to the many Samaritans activities at Christmas that aim to spread joy around Newcastle," Miss Dawson said.

A special visit from Santa Claus is also expected on the day.

■ The Samaritans's free Christmas Lunch In The Park is on Christmas Day, December 25, from 11am. All are welcome, with no need to RSVP.

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