During a year plagued with drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have stepped up to help those need in the community.
St Marys Rugby League Club wanted to acknowledge some of those who made a difference in the area by holding a Christmas luncheon this week for local charity members.
St Marys Rugby League Club Marketing Manager, Cathy Rowley said the idea to host a free event was to simply say thanks.
“We were sitting down in a Board meeting and saying wow what a year we have had, these events have affected families, communities, businesses, livelihoods and occasionally our spirits,” Ms Rowley said.
“Michael Lau, the owner of our new seated buffet restaurant Signatures, said he wanted to give back to those at Christmas time who had worked really hard this year, so we made it happen.”
Holding the lunch at Signatures Buffet, the club hosted volunteers and board members from six local organisations including The Salvation Army Youthlink Reconnect Program, PCYC, and The Haven Women’s Shelter.
Penrith Community Kitchen, Mama Lana’s Kitchen and Your Community Needs St Marys were also invited and attended.
Ms Rowley said she hoped the hard-working volunteers enjoyed a delicious lunch and shared in the spirit of Christmas.
“We did a raffle and got gift bags for all the children with items donated from local businesses which was nice,” Ms Rowley said.
“Our plan was for everyone to walk away with a nice full belly and a gift and I think we succeeded.”
Penrith PCYC President and Penrith Community Kitchen Secretary, Gai Hawthorn said recognising the volunteers was a beautiful gesture.
“To have someone like Saints who reaches out and says we want to celebrate together is amazing and including charities from St Marys and Penrith shows how much of an inclusive LGA we are,” she said.
“These volunteers don’t want to get thanked, they do the work because they have a passion for the community and they care about the charities, but it is lovely to recognise them.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.