CARING AND SHARING: Frances Holmes looks forward to hosting the annual Christmas lunch for the lonely and the underprivileged.
CARING AND SHARING: Frances Holmes looks forward to hosting the annual Christmas lunch for the lonely and the underprivileged. Kevin Farmer

'Christmas is nothing until you do for others'

"CHRISTMAS is nothing until you do for others."

That's the drive behind Frances Holmes and her family sharing 13 years of Christmas lunches with the less fortunate in the community.

This year, Christmas Day lunch is on again at St Luke's Hall from 11.30am-1pm and anyone disadvantaged or lonely is welcome to join in the party atmosphere.

There's roast chicken and potatoes, salad and rolls, and pavlova, fruit salad and ice-cream for desert, all served to your table.

But this is a meal that nourishes souls as much as bodies. Frances tells of two older ladies, both alone, who met at the lunch several years ago and have returned together each year since.

Then there's the families who have been hit by troubles and can't afford Christmas lunch, or those who have been left homeless, or lost their loved ones. Up to 70 people attend each year, many of them seniors.

"I've always lived by the motto that from those of us who have much, much is expected," Frances said.

"I think we have to be aware that circumstances can change for people and bang, they find they have nothing or no-one to share with. That's the people who come to us - life hasn't maybe been as kind to them as it has to us and it's heartbreaking.

"Our message is, if you are on your own, or life's been tough, you are welcome to come and join us."

Even pets are welcome to attend, albeit with their own Christmas munchies outside the hall.

The festive fun has had the same people behind it from the start, including Toowoomba Rotary, Betros Brothers, Orchy, Me-n-u Catering and Nat Spary from the Basement. The room is beautifully and professionally decorated and there's music courtesy of a piano accordion-playing elf!

Well, you would expect Frances, who owns her own event management company, to know how to throw a party!

If you would like to attend, call Frances on 0408 070 300 for catering purposes by December 21.

But Frances adds, "we've never turned anyone away over the years; we just open the doors and everyone is welcome."


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