A SURPLUS of volunteers created extra cheer at the Bendigo community Christmas lunch yesterday, as 400 people packed out the Bendigo Town Hall.
The annual Christmas lunch was brimming with people who gave their time to help prepare a meal for those less fortunate.
Organisers received a huge response in the lead-up to the event, with 140 volunteers helping out on the day.
City of Greater Bendigo’s community well-being director Pauline Gordon said there were more volunteers than needed, but the extra hands had helped the day run particularly smoothly.
She said the variety of people who were able to sit down and have lunch together made it a special occasion.
“It’s a great atmosphere. People getting to know each other and having Christmas lunch, it really shows the goodwill and Christmas spirit,” she said.
The meals were put together by chefs from from the Community Chef program, who travelled from Melbourne to cook the lunch.
Sumith Fernando, who spent 12 years working Christmas Day in the kitchen at Crown Casino, said it was a nice change.
“When they asked me to help I said I would volunteer my time,” he said.
“The smiling faces of the people is always good to see.”
Volunteer Mark Follett and his family were one of many families that volunteered together.
“It’s the first time we’ve done it. It’s been great to be able to see so many happy people and share lunch with others,” he said.