The Joy of Christmas lunch
EVERY year, the Salvation Army Hall on Mundy Street provides Christmas lunch for those in the community who would otherwise spend the day alone.
For the past four, the spread has been cooked by local woman and cook Joy Doran who began volunteering with the church after they provided support to one of her children.
The Salvos provide groceries to people in need and when Ms Doran realised some of them didn’t know how to cook, she began preparing frozen meals for them to take instead.
“Whatever they’ve got, I try and make meals out of,” Ms Doran said.
“There used to be a show on TV called Ready, Steady, Cook, that was me, the ready steady cook, you make a meal out of what’s there,” she said.
Ms Doran’s speciality is not one particular dish but rather pulling together a satisfying meal from what she is given or finds in the pantry.
Christmas lunch will be no different with the menu already being shaped from donated ingredients.
“We got donated some beautiful pastry shells this year, I don’t have to make them this year.
“So I’m going to make onion and beetroot tarts with a little bit of goats cheese and I’ve got some balsamic dressing there so I’ll finish it off with that,” she said.
Although she whips up the odd experiment, Christmas lunch keeps to tradition with roast veggies and three types of meat, including a donated ham that Ms Doran bakes.
Last year the Salvos welcomed 130 guests on Christmas day and with similar numbers expected this year Ms Doran and her kitchen helpers are getting ready to spend up to three days preparing lunch.
“I don’t think people realise all the things the Salvation Army do,” she said.
“I just do my bit, if everybody gave a little bit it would be a better world,” Ms Doran said.
As some of us surely know, Christmas is not always an easy time of year and events such as the Salvos Christmas Day lunch provide a place to connect, which Ms Doran said is just as important.
“It’s not just for people that haven’t got anything, it’s for lonely people that want to spend time with other people,” she said.
“It’s about trying to make Christmas a good time, a happy time for people, that’s what it’s about.”