Volunteers help to prepare meals for more than 200 people at the free Christmas Day community dinner held at St Paul’s hall on Christmas Day.
Volunteers help to prepare meals for more than 200 people at the free Christmas Day community dinner held at St Paul’s hall on Christmas Day. Rob Williams

Dinner comforts lonely residents

CHRISTMAS can be a lonely time for Ipswich people who have no family to visit.

But the volunteers of St Paul's Church have given many of those people a place to go over the past 20 years.

Every year the team provides Christmas dinner and an afternoon of entertainment, arts, crafts and carol singing.

Organiser Hans Booij was expecting 200 people to visit the church for Christmas dinner yesterday.

He said if the church did not provide the afternoon, many people would have nowhere to go.

"They come every year and then we have new people who come as well," he said.

Each table has two volunteers who encourage the attendees to interact and become involved in the activities.

"Everybody wants to be with their family, that's the go. So they are with their Ipswich family and we welcome them in the same way Jesus would.

"We invite them here and everyone has a great time. We get everyone to sing songs with us. It's part of the process, saying the community loves you and you are part of the Ipswich community."