Carols bring together community at Lismore Soup Kitchen
SINGING carols helped create common ground among 200 strangers who gathered at The Winsome Lismore Soup Kitchen's annual Christmas lunch.
Led by the Healing Voices Choir, the crowd came together through song and chimed into a mix of carols from Away in a Manger to Jingle Bell Rock.
It's the sense of community that has kept choir member and Lismore busker Moppy Chiringchuden coming back to the "open-hearted, wonderful" Winsome Hotel year after year.
Ms Chiringchuden said there is nowhere else she would rather be at Christmas time than singing carols with the choir.
"It's so welcoming and so loving ... it really helps people when they're have a hard time," she said.
This year, the choir printed booklets of carol lyrics for guests to use throughout the day.
Lismore Soup Kitchen president, Mieke Bell said the booklets were more engaging than the projector used last year.
"It's much more personal to have the words in front of you and that is encouraging people to join in and I love that," Ms Bell said.
Over the years, Ms Bell said singing carols at the lunch had served as an outlet for people to embrace the Christmas spirit.
"Singing Christmas carols, releasing endorphins and getting that feel-good feeling ... is a great thing," she said.
"It's a really good way to become part of something."
While diners raised their voices in the hall, there was a huge volunteer effort working behind the scenes to bring together a huge festive feast.
Ms Bell thanked her "wonderful team of volunteers" who brought the day together cooking, serving up food and coffees.
She thanked the community who donated their time as well as food, presents and money for the annual event.
"It's because of the generosity of the Lismore community that we are able to hold this day."