ARE you dreading spending Christmas Day alone?
Dread no more. You are invited to share in an abundance of good company, festive cheer and delicious food at this year's Orphans' Christmas.
The free lunch is organised by Julie Ferguson, who joined forces with Robyn Milne several years ago, when they discovered a shared passion for banishing loneliness and spreading festive cheer.
From an intimate gathering of 16 people in its initial year, the Orphans' Christmas continues to grow and last year attracted a crowd of 145.
Ms Ferguson recounted an experience that reinforced her resolve to continue running the event, year after year.
"A dear 80-year-old lady once came up to me and asked, 'Can I hug you?'," she said.
"'Of course' I replied."
"She hugged me tight and said 'I have been alone on Christmas Day for the last 20 years and now I have somewhere to come and feel at home'."
Ms Ferguson said the atmosphere was incredible because people from all walks of life attended.
"The homeless, disabled, people with mental health issues, hitchhikers from all over the world, the frail aged, the very-well-to-do in society and people who simply don't want the family dramas at Christmas (attend)," she said.
"People can relax, meet new people, have a meal and come away feeling happy."
Lunch dishes will include Christmas classics such as ham, puddings and custard.
People are encouraged to bring a present to the value of $5 if they are able.
Transport can be arranged if required.
To volunteer or book, phone Ms Ferguson on 0421 430 175.