On a Christmas Mission
By Pauline Stewart
Maureen Kerr and Sandy Herbert are inviting 200 people to the Community Christmas Dinner on Saturday, 17 December.
The theme is, Who is my Neighbour? and their mission is very clear. These two women are going full throttle to have 200 people all sitting down together sharing the Christmas spirit by eating a meal together. This will be Whitianga’s Community Christmas Dinner. They want the members of Mercury Bay community to invite their neighbours to come to the Christmas dinner. In days gone by, our churches and community organisations would offer a Christmas meal to the homeless and those who simply could not afford one. “Today we don’t make a distinction with this meal,” says Sandy. “There are many who really are struggling, and some are homeless, but our theme of, ”Who is our Neighbour?” means all streams of people are meant to mix together. This meal is free to everyone, but there is the opportunity to make a donation. That is how people who can afford to be generous, do so, for the benefit of those who need to accept this meal as a free gift.”
Maureen adds, “The local businesses sponsor us so generously; local people do the cooking and the serving and the final step is local people eating together. We are all doing it for one another and that’s the way it should be. The cost of the food as we all know has increased a great deal but we have been very encouraged by one individual donation of $1,000. That is an inspiring gesture.”
The cooking is a huge undertaking, but Hendry TAINSH is the main chef and he just gets on with it supported by his very able kitchen crew. Continuing Care provide the table decorations and of course, the help of extra volunteers in all manner of areas is essential on the day.
“We have prepared an invitation,” says Sandy. “This is for people to give to their neighbours and friends. The doors will open at 11.00am on Saturday, 17 December, for people to come and enjoy live entertainment. The meal will be served to people as in a banquet style rather than a buffet.”
“We lost two years with covid, “ says Maureen “and we are excited about making this dinner our best for everyone. I’m going to invite our new Mayor, the local community board members and our elected local Councillors.”
The Mercury Bay Community Support Trust started the dinner about six years ago. Then, it was held in the Town Hall but the excellent kitchen and larger space for dining makes the Crossroads Fellowship Church an excellent venue for this Christmas gathering.
Sandy and Maureen are both Trustees along wth three other members. The Trust does Monday Meals - takeaway meals for those who are sick, or house bound or not able to afford a full weeks groceries. The Mercury Bay Community Support Trust also organises the local annual Day Camp for children, which had a break during Covid.
Contact: RSVP Phone or text Maureen that you are coming and also whether you can come and help. 027 2466164
Pictured ; Maureen Kerr and Sandy Herbert