Families and individuals who find themselves alone, in crisis, or unable to prepare their own Christmas meal are invited to attend a number of free community get-togethers over the holidays.
Several community centres and churches across Moreton Bay will be opening their doors and welcoming the homeless and people in need for some Christmas cheer between now and Boxing Day.
Here is a list of where you can go for a tasty meal, friendly conversation and a listening ear.
Caboolture Community Care
What: A free barbecue
Date: Tuesday, December 13
Location: 9 George Street, Caboolture
The team from Caboolture Community Care will be firing up the barbecue for a free community lunch on Tuesday, December 13.
People of all ages are invited to head down between 10am-1pm.
Caboolture Community Care Manager and Counsellor Craig Jones says “Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling of joy. Caboolture Community Care hopes to spread that joy to the community by hosting a Christmas event where people can access a “pantry” of items, come along for a barbecue and enjoy any donated gifts/toys we have to share”.
The centre will also be available to provide emergency relief assistance until Friday, December 23, for people who need it.
Clontarf Beach Baptist Church
What: Sit down three course meal
Date: Friday, December 23
Location: 145-149 Elizabeth Ave, Clontarf
Volunteers from Clontarf Beach Baptist Church will be preparing a special Christmas-themed meal for the homeless and people in need on Friday, December 23.
The church hosts Friday night dinners each week, with volunteers preparing soups, salads, main meals and dessert for people of all ages.
A volunteer from the church says the dinners are a good way for people to connect with others in the community.
“When people come on down for the weekly dinners, we hope they will sit down and enjoy their meal and connect with others in the community and build up their support network,” the volunteer says.
“We do offer takeaway as well for people, which we started during COVID.
“If someone has a way of keeping the food refrigerated, we will tell them how to prepare the meal so they can have something for breakfast or lunch the next day as well.”
All are welcome to attend the community Christmas dinner, but reservations are needed to ensure the volunteers know how much food to prepare and what dietary requirements there are.
RSPVP to the church by Tuesday, December 20 at the church information desk.
For more information, phone them on 3284 7699.
The Breakfast Club Redcliffe
What: Free community breakfast
Date: Sunday, December 25
Location: Pensioners Hall, on the corner of Portwood St and Oxley Ave, Redcliffe
The dedicated volunteers from Redcliffe’s Breakfast Club will be getting up nice and early on Christmas Day to prepare a delicious breakfast for people in need down at Pensioners Hall.
Helen Bambling (pictured above) from The Breakfast Club says everyone is welcome to attend, as she does not want anyone to spend the day alone.
“Christmas is not an easy time of the year for a lot of people, which is why we are inviting everyone in the community who might find themselves alone to come down for breakfast,” Helen says.
“We don’t want anyone to miss out, so if you would like to come down and have something to eat or just sit and talk with other people, that’s fine.
“There is no judgement here at The Breakfast Club.”
A menu is still yet to be decided for the Christmas breakfast.
The Breakfast Club, which is also part of the Redcliffe Care Network, is also making up hampers to give to struggling families and individuals.
As such, they are asking residents, businesses, sporting clubs, schools and families to dig deep and donate food and gifts for people in need.
Donations of dry pantry goods, like tinned stews, soups, tinned meat, tinned fruit and vegetables, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, long life milk, long life custard, cereal, spreads, pancake mixes, jellies, juice, cordial, biscuits, lollies and more are needed to ensure people have food for Christmas Day and the days afterwards.
They are also seeking gifts for children, from babies up to 18-year-olds, as well as gifts and toiletries for adults.
All donations will need to be dropped off before Thursday, December 15.
If you are a family or an individual that is worried about putting food on your table or having a gift to unwrap, you can reach out to one of the services in the network (The Breakfast Club, Encircle Community Services, Redcliffe Mums, Redcliffe Uniting, The Salvation Army and Band of Brothers) and register your interest in receiving a hamper.
Registrations are now open, and all registrations must be submitted by December 14.
There will be one hamper provided per family/address.
Want to find out more? Watch the video below.
Axis Church North Lakes
What: Delivery of meals to people in need
Time: Christmas Day
Ensuring that everyone can enjoy a meal at home on Christmas day will be parishioners from Axis Church in North Lakes, who will be preparing, cooking and delivering meals to families in need on December 25.
Axis Church Senior Pastor Jono Schroder says people who are in need can contact the church and organise for a tasty and nutritious meal to be hand delivered.
“What we will do is gather people’s details and deliver food to them on Christmas Day so they too can enjoy a nice meal,” Jono says.
“Each meal will be a case-by-case situation, so we can work around people’s needs and allergies.”
The church is hoping to gain access to a commercial kitchen so they can prepare the meals in time for Christmas Day.
“If we can have access to a commercial kitchen, we might be able to do something a little bit fancier with the meals,” Jono says.
“But if we are preparing them at our facility, we will do things like salads, kebabs, burgers, barbecue-style food, things like that.”
The church is also doing a Christmas tree appeal where they are collecting gifts for children aged up to 12.
The church will be collecting donations until the beginning of December, with all the gifts then to be given to local chaplains in schools to hand out.
“We trust the chaplains to do this because they know the families that are truly in need in their school communities.”
If you need a meal on Christmas Day, you can phone the church on 3481 2921.
The church is located at 1 Gardenia Parade, North Lakes.
Caboolture Community Action
What: Community breakfast
Date: Monday, December 26
Location: 23 Hayes St, Caboolture
Families or individuals who are feeling lonely or isolated can head down to Caboolture Community Action for a community breakfast on Boxing Day.
The breakfast will be hosted by Norah Abraham and her three children (pictured above), who came up with the idea last year as a way of giving back to the community.
“My kids, who attend St Eugene College in Burpengary, came up with the idea and last year we only had five weeks to plan everything, but it still turned out really well,” Norah says.
“We had 60 people who came along on the day, and everyone was really nice and had a great time.
“If you would like to come along this year, there will be people there to have a chat with and you can sit with others or sit on your own – it’s really up to you.
“The Christmas period can be a hard and stressful time for many, so this is not a formal event – rather just a nice and relaxing get-together.”
On the menu will be egg and bacon rolls, ham and cheese croissants, chicken burgers, fresh fruit, tea, coffee, Milo and juice.
There will also be small hampers and presents for the kids.
“The community really has pulled this together by providing items for the small hampers and other things like presents, Christmas stockings, lollies, chocolates and more,” Norah explains.
"Foodworks at Burpengary will also be supplying the breakfast ingredients."
Registrations are not required for breakfast, and all are welcome to attend – all you need to do is turn up.
It will be a drug and alcohol-free event.
Norah hopes this will become a yearly tradition for her family and the community, and has thanked Caboolture Community Action for the use of their premises again.
Norah is not affiliated with Caboolture Community Action but does drop off donations weekly.
Norah does however see firsthand how many people are in need through Rosies, where she volunteers her time.
Get in touch
Do you know of any more events like this happening across the Moreton Bay Region?
Send an email to journalist Ashleigh Howarth at [email protected] with all the details and she will add it to the list.
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