OPINION: Are you an excellent organiser? Do you enjoy doing things for your community? Are you free on Christmas Day?
Answer yes to all three and you could be the saviour of Timaru's community Christmas dinner.
The dinner right now is a no-goer.
Those who have given of their time in the past are no longer able to. Well done to them for their efforts over the last five years.
But while there is a structure in place and volunteers are available, it's an overall co-ordinator that is lacking. Even a venue should not be hard to find at short notice for Christmas Day.
The tricky thing is the previous organisers are not really in a position to interview or to establish the suitability of candidates who might come forward, so it almost needs to be a church group or similar to put up their hand.
The dinner is a worthwhile event.
People who might otherwise be alone that day get to have a special experience. And not be alone.
If it doesn't proceed this year, it will be harder to resurrect in future.
If you think you fit the bill, we can put you in contact with the right people.
ANOTHER THING: As one community-minded venture looks like ending, applause is warranted for another that started this year.
The 24/7 Youthwork programme operating from Mountainview High School through the Timaru Presbyterian Church sounds like a great thing.
Two youth workers are available at lunchtimes each day just to chat to students, and the pair also organise other activities and leadership training.
Bullying has decreased and student confidence increased.
I imagine what works is that the programme is not too structured, that the contact is face-to-face in a social media age and mostly that the youth workers involved are themselves young.
The pressures on today's youth seem greater than before, so it is heartening to see such a programme being made available and to learn that it is working.
Other schools should take a serious look at it.
- © Fairfax NZ News