The Port Anglican Soup Kitchen got into the spirit of giving with a Christmas lunch for attendees on Wednesday, December 14.
Volunteers handed out around 40 Christmas hampers to people in need and attendees enjoyed Christmas lunch at the kitchen hall.
Port Macquarie resident and Port Anglican Soup Kitchen chef Ross Matthews said 2022 has been a tough year for him.
Ross first attended the kitchen about five years ago. He was homeless then but has since obtained housing.
Ross said unfortunately the rental cost of his property has increased in 2022, and despite receiving financial support, he's made sacrifices.
"I've had to cut back on everything," he said.
However, volunteering his time and receiving food support from the Port Anglican Soup Kitchen has helped ease his worries.
"I do my time here and if there's any meals left over, I'll take a couple home with me," he said.
Ross has been volunteering at the kitchen as a chef and enjoys giving back to help others.
Port Anglican Soup Kitchen coordinator Kerri Attenborough-Bourke said unfortunately there are many stories similar to Ross, where people have found 2022 to be a tough year.
The housing crisis, coupled with high petrol prices and rising interest rates have resulted in an increased number of people seeking support from the kitchen.
"We're seeing a lot more people at the serving window (of the soup kitchen)." Kerri said.
Kerri said donations from the St Thomas Anglican Church and Port Macquarie Women's Golf Club, plus a fundraiser at Settlers Inn had resulted in the purchase of vouchers as gifts for attendees.
"People are very appreciative," she said.
Year 12 St Columba Anglican School student Milly Dunbar helped to organise the Christmas hampers at the Port Anglican Soup Kitchen, by setting up donation points at local Coles stores and through her school.
"It's humbling to see the generosity of the community," she said.
"You can set up boxes but you can't force people to donate.
"It's great to see local businesses and people donate all kinds of items."
The Port Anglican Soup Kitchen will return for its usual operation on Wednesday, January 25.
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