GIVING BACK: Suzette Benz and mum Lorraine Goldspink at their last Warwick Community Christmas Lunch.
GIVING BACK: Suzette Benz and mum Lorraine Goldspink at their last Warwick Community Christmas Lunch.

Community Christmas brings holiday joy to those in need

FOR Warwick residents battling loneliness, money troubles, or displacement, Christmas can be a time of hardship rather than joy and festivity.

This year, one Rose City family wants to make a difference.

The Community Christmas Lunch, headed up by sisters Kathryn Goldspink and Suzette Benz, invites anyone without the means to truly celebrate a place to come together.

After starting the initiative in 2015 but having to cancel the next few years due to family difficulties, Kathryn knew the hardships of 2020 would make this year’s event more important than ever.

“There’s being lonely or down in the dumps on a normal day, but when you’re sitting at home on Christmas with nobody around you, it’s just the worst feeling in the world,” Kathryn said.

“The lunch always just feels like a big family Christmas with everybody talking, laughing, joking, listening to music, and kids are outside having fun with toys and games.

“It’s open to the elderly, those with disabilities, young people, even families – we don’t mind and won’t ask what your situation is, we just want you to have a great day.”

After a tough few years for her own friends and family, Suzette said the volunteer-reliant initiative was a timely reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and community.

Warwick Community Christmas Lunch in 2015.
Warwick Community Christmas Lunch in 2015.

“I know a lot of people have said they suffered with depression really badly with Covid hitting and being locked away, so this will hopefully brighten their day or week and give them a little something,” Suzette said.

“There was one little girl last time who was so excited because she got shampoo, conditioner, and some hair elastics as a present, and she was just so thrilled to have gotten this for Christmas.

“We’re open to whatever people are willing to donate, and anything that’s leftover or we don’t use will be donated back into Salvos, St Vincent de Paul, or any of the other community groups.”

The Community Christmas Lunch will be held 11am – 2pm on Christmas Day at Masonic Lodge Hall, 50A Guy St.

Those looking to donate food, drinks, or presents can do so from 8am – 5pm at Electrical Works, 46 King St.

Anyone wishing to attend or volunteer their time on the day should contact Suzette on 0407 727 717, Kathryn on 0401 519 301, or head to the Community Christmas Lunch Facebook page.

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