Fifteen years ago, at the first Christmas Lunch in Singleton hosted by Singleton Anglican Parish, Gary wanted to know how he could help on Christmas Day. The reply was, ‘you can be the Christmas Elf’. Gary says this was intended as a joke but like most things, Gary tackled the request head-on, found an outfit, and has volunteered to greet people at Samaritans Christmas Lunch in Singleton ever since.
For Gary, the lunch is an extremely important event for the community where people can come together to connect, no matter where they come from.
“The community knows they can come to the lunch to be with other people on Christmas day and there is food, drinks and gifts,” Gary said.
“What I like to say to everyone is, ‘it doesn’t matter if you have been naughty or nice – we would like to see you on Christmas Day at Samaritans Christmas Lunch in Singleton.’”
In the lead up to Christmas, you will find Gary walking up and down the main street in Singleton, donning his elf attire, to spread the word about the event.
“I like to reach more people – especially those that have difficulty with Christmas. They grin and bear it. The lunch is an opportunity to know there is support on Christmas Day,” he said.
“It is truly community an event and I am proud to be part of it.”
To find out more about Samaritans Christmas Lunches, click here for Singleton and here for Newcastle.
In his spare time, Gary runs Dolly's Charity Shop to support local youth services in the Singleton LGA.