New School of Arts Community Hub volunteers Sandra Jolley, Robyn Hampton, Sue Baillie, Terry Eggins, Sue Burke and Peter Taylor get ready to serve lunch on Christmas Day.
New School of Arts Community Hub volunteers Sandra Jolley, Robyn Hampton, Sue Baillie, Terry Eggins, Sue Burke and Peter Taylor get ready to serve lunch on Christmas Day. Adam Hourigan

Lunch served with a side of Christmas spirit

EACH year Grafton woman Sue Baillie starts her Christmas shopping on Boxing Day.

By June she is wrapping presents which have been squirrelled away.

It makes sense considering how many people she buys for - the presents will go to the 70-100 people expected to show up to the New School of Arts free Christmas lunch tomorrow.

In the organisation's new community kitchen for the first time, volunteers will serve up cold meats, salad, pudding and a smile to anyone who walks through the building's doors.

This year 22 people have signed up to help out, and organiser Sue Burke has even had to turn some people away, on the condition that they have family to spend the holiday with.

"If not we'll find something for them to do," she said.

In previous years even a magician has made an appearance at the lunch.

"People will bring others that they know don't have much to do on the day, and it's just as much about the volunteering because people want to give," she said.

"Its a good mixture of volunteers, community members and the regulars who keep this place going."

For Ms Baillie, the importance of the lunch cannot be underestimated.

Her first Christmas at NSOA was four years ago, when she found herself without any plans for the day and decided to help out.

"I heard about this through work and have been here ever since," she said.

"I wouldn't have it any other way. It's just such a great day and it makes you feel good when you do something for someone else."

The NSOA Christmas lunch runs from 12-1.30pm tomorrow, at Skinner and Spring St in South Grafton.