29 December 2008

Christmas breakfast

Hanno and Kerry cooking up a storm.

Voluntary work is a big part of my life now that I have the time for it. I am the co-ordinator of my local neighbourhood centre where a bunch of us volunteers work for the disadvantaged and homeless, and to provide information about various government agencies and helping hand organisations to people in our community. We also have a permaculture garden that supplements the food staples we give those who need them. I teach budgeting there, we have a sewing circle and a new knitters group and we have just partnered with our local relocalisation group to provide life skills workshops for our community. We'll teach things like vegetable and fruit gardening, worm farming, bamboo construction, bread and jam making, preserving and dehydrating and a lot more.

One of the seasonal things we do is to provide Christmas breakfast for our community. It's the one day we don't focus solely on our disadvantaged folk but instead invite our community to come together for one special meal - Christmas day breakfast. It is such a great event and all morning I meet with people happy to be there and who want to help in some way. Honestly, we had more people asking if they could help that I ever imagined. In the end, I'd say half the people who wanted to help, couldn't, and had to be content having a freshly cooked free breakfast in the warm sunshine.

Almost all the food we consumed was donated by local businesses - we had locally made yoghurt from our cheese maker and fresh milk from our local dairy, the egg farm gave us hundreds of eggs, the local butchers gave sausages and bacon. Restaurants gave juice and mushrooms, the green grocer gave fresh fruit and the local food co-op gave organic muesli. It was a feast! And it was all enjoyed by everyone who came along. Our disadvantaged folk mingled with those we didn't know so well, and most filled their bellies up and helped clean up. We catered for 500 and ran out of hot food, but we still had organic muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit, tea and coffee to offer.

We had a couple of raffles and our donations tins ran hot. When I came home I counted up about $700 that will go towards providing more programs and services next year.

It took about a month to organise our breakfast, I worked closely with my good friend Bernadette and other volunteers, and picking up the donations, transporting it all to the park and co-ordinating the morning was really hard work. But oh the payoff. When I came home from that breakfast I was as full of the Christmas spirit as I could possibly be. I didn't have any breakfast apart from a wedge of watermelon because I was too busy talking with people who wanted to thank us for the breakfast and those who wanted to help. Representatives of our local churches came over and said hello and thanks, and a couple of people from the RSL (Returned Servicemen's League), Lions and Apex talked about how we could all help each other during the year. An older man said: "Mrs Hetzel, I'm pleased to see you have food covers this year." LOL (Our sewing circle made us net food covers.) Kids kept asking when Santa would arrive - he came on his Harley. There were people everywhere and they met people they didn't know before. It looked like everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I did.

I was really pleased that both my sons came to the breakfast. They saw for themselves that Christmas is really about giving of yourself, and that generosity is its own reward. And that's a fine thing to be reminded of in these times of crass consumerism, over indulgence and keeping up with the Joneses.



  1. dearest rhonda, mum & dad would be proud of the work that you hanno and the boys did yesterday and so am i. i know that you were the biggest winner yesterday - so just keep on with your good work and count the blessings. love tricia

  2. Hi Rhonda,

    Well done once again on organising the breakfast , it is a wonderful thing that you do for your community. As your sister said you should be proud.

  3. What a wonderful event. Bravo to you and Hanno and all the others for making this happen.

  4. What a fantastic effort from you, Hanno and all the other volunteers.

    Glad that you had a wonderful Christmas Rhonda, and wishing you a very Happy New Year.

    best wishes,
    Cate in NZ

  5. Wow!

    Rhonda I am so very .......well I can't actually think of the right word...so will just say WELL DONE!

    That is such an amazing community event!

    the true meaning of the festive season, indeed... :-)

  6. I have been popping by to see when you would post about this most generous acts of kindness you help provide.
    I read through feeling quite moved and emotional!
    Good on you all for making a difference

  7. Wow that is just great!


    Many Blessings,


  8. What a wonderful day you all had. Reading your post made my heart feel warm and fuzzy. When we do even the smallest thing for others, that's a reward in itself.
    Take care.

  9. Now that is what Christmas is about.... giving.

  10. Glad to hear the annual breakfast went so well Rhonda!

    I am delighted to share with you the simple gift my husband gave me through Oxfam Unwrapped. I gave a chook, a pig, a goat and a bag of manure to a Sri Lankan family. :-)

    Cheers, Rose

  11. Oh Rhonda, your story has warmed my heart. What wonderful and worthwhile work you do and what a lovely community you live in.
    I am so glad for you that it was such a success.

  12. Good on you and Hanno! What an amazing, caring couple you are and I hope your community appreciates your hard work. :-) As I have said too many times, you inspire me.

  13. What an amazing thing to do. Hope you have a great New Year.

  14. Thank you for demonstrating the true spirit of Christmas so generously - and not just to your local community. What a great thing to do!

    Best wishes for a happy and peaceful New Year.

  15. Rhonda, this is truly and inspiring post. Volunteering is a rewarding act as my 16 year old son is also learning. The past 2 years, he and my sister, on Christmas morning, head out to the nursing home they both work at and deliver Christmas cards and morning cheer to the residents that live there. I think there are about 200 plus that they visit and it takes them about 2 1/2 hours. Afterwards, they both come to my mothers home for Christmas brunch to join the rest of our family. I am proud of him for learning the importance of giving of himself and his time without monetary compensation.
    I wish you and Hanno a very happy and prosperous new year.

  16. Well done it sounds like it was enjoyed by all contributors and receivers. Well done encore !! What a wonderful Christmas morning. Best wishes from Brittany France x

  17. A wonderful post, it's what Christmas is all about.

  18. That was a really inspiring post, I am glad you and your community had such a great meaningfull Christmas, due in no small part to all the effort you and others put in to it. May you and yours have a happy and peacefull New year.

  19. This was a wonderful thing to do for your community! Blessings to you!


  20. Wonderful! A very inspiring post about a very inspiring event. I feel better and want to "go thou and do likewise". Rhonda, I wonder if you realize how many seeds of goodness you sow with your blog, all over the world. People feel better and act better and help one another more because of what you do.

  21. What a privilege to enjoy. Giving is a rich gift to ourselves as well as to others. It is in the receiving that the others were like wise blessed. Receiving is often the harder part. That your grown sons game is a wreath upon your heads.

  22. This is so inspiring Rhonda.

    Blessings Gail

  23. Hi,
    I think your site is the best on the net.Great work and I hope that long may you continue.Had a look at the pics of your garden and noticed that you had pots on top of stakes.Is it something to do with your cricket team,like a flag on half mast gardening style?


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