Gift of the Orphans Christmas will continue to be shared
IT HAS always been more than just a meal shared by strangers and dedicated community volunteers.
The Coffs Coast Orphans Christmas as a celebration of community is said to be the very essence of Christmas right here on the Coffs Coast.
This year more than 200 people enjoyed Christmas lunch in the botanic garden, while sharing in gift giving.
Organisers said 65 hampers were also distributed to those doing it tough on the Coffs Coast and lots of people got to take food home with them.
For almost a decade Julie Ferguson has been the driving force behind the Orphans Christmas.
Sitting in a local park by herself on Christmas Day in 2006, Julie said she had the idea to start an event where people who spend Christmas day alone could enjoy the company of others and celebrate with a delicious lunch.
The 2016 celebration however will be her last, and after initial concerns the community event may come to an end, Christmas Day news was delivered that Julie will be handing over the organising of the event to Graeme Kenworthy in 2017.
This will allow Julie to focus more on her organisation REAP which collects unwanted food products from local businesses to support the needy and homeless.
"I'm very sad about this being the last one, I'm going to miss doing it but I have to retire due to Reap becoming such a big program," Julie said.
When first started in 2007 there were 16 people attending the Orphans Christmas.
If you can help out for next year's event call Graeme Kenworthy on 0400 311 899.