Christmas is a day for giving and sharing

The level of generosity across central Victoria yesterday was enough to convert the most hardened festive cynics. 

For some, Christmas is just another holiday, stolen from the pagans and manufactured into a celebration of excess and heedless materialism. 

But for the people at the Bendigo Town Hall yesterday, it clearly meant more.

There were 140 people volunteering at the annual community Christmas lunch, giving their time to help prepare a feast for those less fortunate.

Countless others across the region spent yesterday donating their time to making sure other people were looked after.

Among the most committed volunteers at the town hall was Melbourne chef Sumith Fernando.

Mr Fernando travelled from his home in Altona to Bendigo on Christmas eve to make sure he could get in the kitchen by 7am on Christmas day.

It was the spirit of giving, he said, that encouraged him to spend Christmas making sure people were well-fed.

Many echoed that sentiment and said they were glad to be able to share the day with others.

A lot of volunteers were there for the first time and said it had made them realise how they had previously taken Christmas lunch for granted.

Organisers of the lunch said after doubts there wouldn’t be enough support, the amount of volunteers exceeded the number needed.

On top of the Bendigo Christmas tree light-up event, it showed there is strong support for community events.

When that sort of volunteering and enthusiasm benefits people who might otherwise spend Christmas alone, it’s one good reason to celebrate the Christmas spirit.

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