The weather was truly beautiful for our Christmas in July event this year. It’s safe to say that this was our most successful event to date with both patrons and volunteers getting into the spirit of things and enjoying each other’s company – we were absolutely delighted to bring the event back to life after having to cancel last year due to COVID.
Volunteers mobilised quickly to begin set up at 5pm, there was so much to do before our guests arrived! Felicity Park was certainly a buzz of activity and a sea of red with more than 80 patrons, guests and volunteers who shared our night. Tables were laden with just about everything you could imagine, even a selection of brand new skating gear donated to us by Project Distribution.
We wanted to make sure this was a night to remember for patrons and the food was sensational! Our volunteers lovingly prepared 3 large pots of delicious homemade soup; chicken noodle, roast veggie, and Thai pumpkin (which was a patron favourite!). James, the Head Chef at Club Kawana, really out did himself, preparing heaped trays of roast beef, ham, mixed vegetables, and plum pudding with custard. How could we have a Christmas event without plum pudding? Karen from local MP Jason Hunt’s office was also in attendance with some beautiful homemade cupcakes with individual snowflake fondant she rolled and cut by hand – a real treat. The abundance of it all allowed patrons and volunteers to sit down side by side and enjoy a meal together as if they were just two old friends chatting on a park bench. It was wonderful to experience the genuine camaraderie and friendship that the teams have fostered at the Sunshine Coast outreach.
Everyone was in such a jovial mood with patrons filling their bags and trolleys to the absolute brim. For those fortunate enough to have vehicles, many trips were made back and forth dropping off their selection of clothes, foods etc. It was a night of jolly good cheer with the fairy lights glowing, surrounding bushes adorned in Christmas decorations and Christmas carols playing in the background. Our delightful COVID safe Santa, Terry, dropped in and with his helpers, Oriana and Vera, handed out an assortment of chocolates and other goodies.
The event would not have been possible without those volunteers who met at the Hub in the afternoon to sort through all of the donated items, prepared all the takeaway packs, and packed and unpacked all the vans laden with goodies. It was wonderful to see everyone lending a hand, to make the work feel light and the atmosphere of love and joy was felt by all. Volunteers who were not rostered attended with their families to mix and mingle with our patrons and we were blessed by the collaboration of other services like Mission Australia, Vinnies, HTK church, Hair Aid, and Pets in the Park.