Megsy #87 -Work a Soup Kitchen on Xmas

Christmas is a 'funny' holiday: it can be the best time and it can be the worst time, depending on your bank balance but more importantly, your family. 

Mine have been 'ok' - the bank balance was always low and my family is far from the happy families on tv. Christmases weren't a happy time, more a time which we would just want to 'get through'. But despite hardships, I never went without. 

It wasn't until fairly recently that I thought about volunteering on Xmas Day. I have spent the last 5 away from home (NYC, Norway, London) and in that time they had somewhat become 'just another day'. This was my first Xmas at home for 5 years so when I told my mother what I wanted to do she was extremely supportive although it meant another Xmas apart. So I set about contacting various charities.

I was surprised yet pleased to hear that many organisations already had enough people to help out. One thing I hadn't been prepared for was the need to register with charities in advance, as many require police clearance checks. But then I found an appeal from St John's Church, Reid, ACT in a local newspaper to help serve food on Xmas Day. I headed over with a crate of toys not knowing what to expect. What I found was a group of people who, like me, were first time volunteers. We set up the hall with tables, decorations, toys and food. I worked alongside volunteers Tasmyn, Nathan and Matt, serving drinks. Then people started coming through and before long we had filled to capacity. Santa made an appearance and it was truly heart warming to see just how excited the children were. There was music but conversation made you strain to hear it at times which was good as Sue from St John's Community Care had advised that even within a hall of hundreds, loneliness could still exist. Despite the difficulty of the day for many of the patrons, it was lovely to see most people looking relaxed. It was a humbling experience and I came away from it wanting to volunteer more often, not just for Xmas. I met so many wonderful people that day, whose names I never got to know, but still make me smile when I think about them. It is the most meaningful Xmas I have had yet.

Megsy and Sue of St John's Church, Reid, ACT

Volunteering with Tamsyn, Nathan and Matt

 The Hall, Xmas Day, 2010

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