No stopping Christmas spirit
'We've got lots of volunteers'ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Christmas Day festivities are moving into top gear as volunteers prepare to pull off a last minute community dinner in Timaru.
Food, manpower, decorations and entertainers have been offered to help make Timaru's Community Christmas Dinner one to remember, co-organiser Mark Bourassa said.
The event, hosted in previous years by Jericho Road Charitable Trust, was initially cancelled after the 12 key people needed to co-ordinate the event failed to come forward.
However, the cancellation announcement prompted other groups and individuals to make the dinner their challenge, including Mr Bourassa and his 101, the Mental Wellness Drop-in Centre, colleagues John Fallon and Lou Adams.
So far everything is going to plan, Mr Bourassa said.
''Everything is going really, really well and we've got lots of volunteers - I think we've got 40.''
Ritchies Coachlines has agreed to run three buses for the occasion. People requiring the service will need to book in, Mr Bourassa said.
A Dutch choir group called the Dutch Nightingales School Choir, which is touring the country, will also provide some of the entertainment on the day. The group is made up of seven to 20-year-olds.
Schools have also put their hands up to assist with the mammoth project, offering to create decorations for the occasion.
Bluestone School is one of them. More than 500 of the school's pupils have been tasked with creating a Christmas decoration, which will go on display at the bay hall.
Principal Ian Poulter said the idea was to get the children thinking about what they can do for their community.
''It's about children giving something back and not always taking, and thinking, can we do something as a community to make it better?''
Mr Bourassa said the overall response from the community had been amazing.
''There's been lots of food donated, we've had organisations put money towards food and we've had private donations come in. We think everything is under control now.''
He said the Timaru District Council had also been supportive.
''They have been absolutely amazing - it's just made life really easy.''
● People who need transport to get to the dinner need to book by phoning Lou on 686 2046 before noon on December 21.
- The Timaru Herald