INVERCARGILL Mayor Tim Shadbolt says he will not be hosting a Christmas Day lunch this year because of other commitments, but he is delighted Melissa Aitken has taken on the role this season.
The Good-Hearted Southlanders Christmas Barbecue Lunch, replacing the annual Mayoral Christmas Lunch, was for those who were disadvantaged or had lost their closest friends or family members and needed some Christmas cheer.
“If they know they are in need or on their own [this Christmas], just come along. They don’t need an invitation,” Mrs Aitken said.
She had received a huge amount of volunteer interest to help with the lunch, with 57 people confirmed as volunteers and offers of help from another 14 people having to be turned down.
“So many people want to help, it’s wonderful.
“Southlanders are a very awesome, humble people who just want to help.”
More than 300 people were expected to attend the function, she said.
Mr Shadbolt said he wanted to thank Mrs Aitken and all the volunteers for their work and he encouraged the public to donate to the worthy event.
Mrs Aitken said Christmas crackers, hand sanitiser, bottled water, juices, barbecue sauce, meat, bread and desserts were still needed, along with boxes of chocolates which could be given as gifts for people to take home.
Anyone wanting to donate items or funds can email firstname.lastname@example.org