Christmas, for our family, is traditionally spent going to church, spending the day with relatives and of course opening presents. Although our three boys, aged 12, 9 and 6, have been brought up in the Christian faith, the focus of Christmas was becoming lost with the commercial aspects of wanting and getting.
My husband and I thought we needed to show them a different approach.
When we became aware of the Mission’s Christmas lunch last year, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show our children the value of helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
As volunteers on Christmas Day, my husband and I helped prepare and serve food, cleaned up, took out rubbish bins, whatever was needed. Our boys pitched in a little, although they were a bit reluctant.
When the guests had all been served, the volunteers sat down and ate. It was interesting to see the variety of people who choose to have Christmas lunch at the Mission. One of the organisers commented that for some, this Christmas lunch would be the most significant event of their year. This thought combined with the genuine gratitude conveyed by the people being served was one of the most memorable parts of the day. An unexpected benefit was hearing the interesting stories of the other volunteers.
After we were finished, we were tired and hot; however the sense of community involvement and cooperation that we felt was invigorating.
This year we will be volunteering again and we look forward to our boys contributing a bit more. Professionally, James and I are involved in education and counselling on a daily basis. We know that volunteering on Christmas Day for a few hours is only a modest contribution; however, we’re hoping that it will have a lasting effect on our children.
Donna Walck and her family are are members of the Lutheran Church.