Christmas lunch in good company at The Pines in Pialba
THE Picnic in the Pines Christmas Day lunch is not just for those who cannot afford a meal.
Organiser Reverend Brian Hoole from the Uniting Church said an important aspect of the fifth annual event was to provide a place where people could fill the void of loneliness on a special day.
"It is not a council or church event, but a community event," Rev Hoole said.
"One of the important things is for people to talk to others and there are a lot of people who come to the day that are just lonely.
"It's for people who have nowhere to go or any family to be with.
"It's often about meeting that need, rather than those who can't afford a meal.
"Christmas Day is a real family day, so we try and create a big family for them to belong to."
Rev Hoole and his family will work alongside about 50 other volunteers at the Pialba foreshore park, where they will chat to locals, serve sandwiches, cakes and pudding, organise games and activities for the children, and host a visit and gift presentation from Santa.
This is something the Hooles have done every year, leaving their own family's celebrations until Boxing Day.
"The best part for me is seeing the people with a light in their eyes," he said.
"It's a real sense of belonging to something and that's the real benefit of this event."
In a show of Christmas spirit, the Hervey Bay RSL Memorial Club has covered the cost of the event, with a $2500 donation.
"The club believes that no one should be left alone for Christmas," said club president Bernie Devine.
"It's a time of year that needs to be shared with family and friends.
"And it gives people who haven't got anyone the chance to meet new friends and just be with them on this special day.
"It's getting back to what Christmas is all about and that's giving."
The free picnic will be held from noon to 2pm on Christmas Day at The Pines playground, near the intersection of the Esplanade and Beach Rd, Pialba.
The picnic will be child-friendly. It will also be smoke-free and alcohol-free.
Please RSVP and register.
People are also welcome to turn up on the day.
Phone the Uniting Church office on 4125 5233 or the Bayside Christian Church office on 4124 3327.
All you need to take is a picnic blanket or chair.
- Hervey Bay RSL Memorial Club: $2500 donation
- Xavier Catholic College: use of several marquees
- Fraser Coast Regional Council: Supply of chairs and venue
- Fraser Lions Club: Lions cakes and puddings