Annual Christmas lunch brings community together

MORE than 150 people from all walks of life gathered today for the annual Our Lady Help of Christians Christmas Day lunch.

The lunch has been running for more than 20 years with the aim of bringing together those from the community who feel isolated during the holiday season.

Father Thomas Brophy said the event addressed the issue of loneliness that many people faced living in Ballarat.

"So many people called me up feeling lonely and asking if they could come to this gathering," Fr Brophy said.

"Many people have disconnected families and they like the idea of eating with somebody else.

"We need to be giving of ourselves and I'm so happy we have as many people here as we have."

The annual lunch provided diners with a hot traditional Christmas dinner complete with roast, baked potatoes, vegetables, and gravy while Christmas carols, decorations and bon-bons enhanced the festive spirit.

First time volunteer Lyn Janes said she decided to participate in the event after her children made alternate plans for Christmas Day lunch.

"Christmas is a time for giving and I prefer to do that than to sit at home," the Redan resident said.

Co-organiser Sandra Dillon said close to 170 people attended the lunch which was held at the OLHC Mercy Performing Arts Centre.

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