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• Christmas in Sunraysia

More than 100 community members enjoyed Christmas in July festivities, hosted this week by the Sunraysia Salvos.

More than 100 people attended the Christmas in July events at Sunraysia Corps in north-west Victoria – a dinner at Red Cliffs and lunch in Mildura.

“Everyone had a lovely time,” said Major Debbie Serojales, Sunraysia Corps Officer. “There was a real party atmosphere. Some people dressed up and brought their own Christmas decorations for the table.

Cynthia (left) and Maria were part of the volunteer team on hand to serve the meal, as well as chat with community guests.

“One man, who has been connected to us for some time, asked me why we do it. I told him because we want to help people; we care. I reminded him that he is now part of our church family – and he cried. He can’t believe that people come back week after week. He really appreciates what is been done for the community.”

Sunraysia Corps runs community lunches and dinners all year round in both locations, but the Christmas in July meals are extra special.

“It’s about celebrating our people and an excuse for a party,” said Debbie. “We celebrate Christmas with our growing and diverse communities that include seasonal workers from Vanuatu, locals and people who just want to share a meal with others.

“We have one older couple who usually eat dinner on their own at home. They come down and enjoy eating with people who’ve become their friends. It’s about relationships. We’ve even had a men’s group and a craft group form out of the community meals.”

Christmas decorations were put up, music played, bonbons pulled and hats worn for both lunch and dinner. Local businesses donated cooked meat, to which the usual trimmings were added.

“There were even little gifts,” said Debbie. “We celebrated Christmas over food with friends, which encourages conversation.

“Salvo volunteers were spread across the ‘doing and serving’ and the ‘listening and being’, so they could join in conversations as well. Volunteers from the Red Cliffs Church of Christ were also assisted in the festivities.

“Any excuse to celebrate together,” said Debbie.


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