Timaru's Community Christmas Dinner was a cracker, a final evaluation of the event shows.
Staff at 101, the Mental Wellness Drop-in Centre, organised the meal for the first time last year when original hosts decided to take a break after a lack of volunteers.
However, word spread quickly that help was desperately needed, which meant the event was still able to proceed. An estimated 180 people attended the meal at the Caroline Bay Hall.
One month on, organisers have completed their evaluation of the day, co-organiser Mark Bourassa said. Costs for the services, which were offered for free, came to "well over" $5000 and there was still $97 in the kitty, to be spent on this year's event.
Mr Bourassa said the response and support from the community exceeded expectations.
"When we started taking a look at all the donations that were provided from all those people, [we realised] if we had to pay that it would have been outrageous."
He said it was surprising to see $97 still left over after all the bills were paid. "So, the community support was huge."
Mr Bourassa said he did not know who would host this year's event, but he would discuss the options with the original organisers.
- © Fairfax NZ News