Salvation Army’s festive feast will be open to all

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A CHRISTMAS feast awaits any families or individuals facing the festive period alone this year.

The Salvation Army in Horsham will open its doors on Christmas Day to provide a three-course Christmas lunch and a day of entertainment to people of all ages.

Last year they were hosts to more than 100 diners at their centre on Booth Way.

Horsham Salvation Army captain Sue Woodgate said: “It’s for everybody. It’s all family fun.

“Everything is fresh and homemade and a lot of the people we see will be on their own on Boxing Day as well, so they all go home with a food parcel too.”

The preparation starts on Christmas Eve when volunteers come in to peel sprouts and potatoes and then they come back early in the morning to decorate the centre and start cooking.

Sue’s husband, Ian, also a Horsham Salvation Army captain, said: “People are here from about 8am preparing food.

“Drivers go out to pick people up if they need a lift to the centre and people start arriving at 10am. They are registered and welcomed with a cup of tea.

“Then we have a carol service which anyone can come to. After that we have another cup of tea and entertainment before lunch.

“We have Tony the Magician, quizzes or we might sing. It depends on the mood.

“At 1pm we have lunch, which is homemade soup, a full turkey and beef roast with a vegetarian option, Christmas pudding or something lighter and then mince pies.

“Then volunteer team serve tea and sit and eat their dinner. During that time more volunteers continue with entertaining the guests.

“At 3pm we watch the Queen and Father Christmas visits to give everyone a gift and we give out the food parcels.

“People start going home at about 3.30pm and it’s time for the volunteers to clean up. The day flies by.”

If you or anyone you know wants to join celebrations at The Salvation Army on Christmas Day call Ian and Sue at the centre on 01403 254624.

Anyone who would like to volunteer, either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day can also call this number.

l The Salvation Army is already seeing a massive need for food and gift parcels this year.

They still need hundreds of new toys for children of all ages, gifts for elderly people, festive food, Christmas crackers and toiletries.

Some of the parcels are given to anonymous families referred to The Salvation Army by schools, so they need to be delivered by the end of term on December 16.

No donation is too small, so take your gifts to The Salvation Army Horsham centre on Booth Way.