No shortage of support for this Christmas lunch

THE true spirit of Christmas was on full display at Coolum where volunteers streamed through the Civic Centre doors to help prepare lunch of residents with nowhere else to go.

The Coolum HeARTS group uses the arts as a way to improve the lives of marginalised Sunshine Coast residents.

It has hosted a Christmas dinner for the past three years, this year drawing more than 100 guests from Coolum, Cooroy, Noosa Heads, Sippy Downs and Maroochydore.

Included in their number were those living alone as well as the homeless.

Spokesperson Barbara Holden said support for the event was such that there was more people ringing up wanting to help this year than there were those among the marginalised who would attend.

"It's amazing,” she said. "It must be Christmas.

"It's more so than ever. We've just come across so many wanting to help.”

No shortage of support for this Christmas lunch

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Isabella, 12 and Caitlin Barry, 9 have given up part of their Christmas Day to help set the tables that will seat 100 homeless people for Christmas luncheon. John McCutcheon

Among them were Isobella, 12, and Caitlin, 9, Barry whose father Michael said had insisted on coming with him to do their bit.

He teaches the Coolum HeARTS drum school and had committed to lend a hand.

"Kids get so much these days,” Mr Barry said. "And they're aware of it enough to want to help.

"It's part of being in this community. You meet real people here, not stereotypes. And when you meet real people everyone connects.”

The girls for their part were simply happy to follow the lead of the older volunteers distributing neatly folded serviettes to each place setting.

Organising the day has been a six-week process for volunteers who raised $1500 in the community to help fund the Christmas celebration.

Coolum HeARTS connects people through singing, drumming, Tai Chi, meditation and other classes and is about to enter its fifth year.

This is the third Christmas lunch it has hosted.

"It's something for people who don't connect with mainstream activities or who didn't fit in,” Ms Holden said.

"It's a place of equality and acceptance.”

The organisation receives some grant support from Sunshine Coast Council and the Mary Mackillio Foundation.