Christmas dinner can often be a stressful event for everyone involved but when Bob Adams helps prepare turkey and all the trimmings for the homeless and people living alone it is nothing but a joyous occasion.
Bob, who is also a district and county councillor, is one of the leading lights in the annual Churches Together effort which ensures needy individuals in Grantham enjoy a roast dinner and some company every December 25.
An army of volunteers cooks and serves the meal in the church hall at St Mary’s in the town.
The initiative also makes sure cold platters are delivered to those people who are unable to leave the house but who might otherwise be on their own at Christmas.
What do you enjoy about the Christmas day effort?
We get a lot of happy and willing helpers and there is a lot of great team work on the day. It is very rewarding for those involved, without being patronising to those people we are helping. It’s a family day and most of these people have no family nearby so they really enjoy it.
What goes into the day to make it such a success every year?
We try to have one volunteer helper for every guest at the dinner. We’re lucky that so many people want to help and not all of them are church-going people. We’re fortunate to have a qualified chef or cook to prepare the meals and then we all muck-in to wash-up afterwards.
Numbers vary but we usually cater for a minimum of 20, although the hall holds 30.
How do you help people who are unable to get to the dinner but who are alone on Christmas Day?
We do run transport to help some people get to the dinner. For the others we deliver a cold platter. This will be made up of three meats, salad, potatoes and an individual Christmas pudding. There will also be a bottle of wine and chocolates with their meal. We are unable to deliver hot food to them because of health and safety regulations.
How do you go about assessing people who benefit from having a Christmas dinner prepared for them?
We have a list of names and addresses for those who have been to the dinner or had their meal delivered in the past. We also let people know about it through the church newsletters and the Grantham Journal and a lot of it is through word of mouth. Age ranges vary. We had a person in their 20s at the dinner one year and we must had people in their 80s and 90s although we never ask their ages.
Do you have time to enjoy your own family celebrations on the day?
We have two children in their 20s and we enjoy our Christmas meal later in the day, which is when I prefer to eat it. We go to midnight mass as well. It’s a happy family day and people shouldn’t be alone at Christmas.
* If you know of someone who would welcome a Christmas dinner on December 25, call Bob on 01476 530329 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org