Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
Giving a helping hand during the festivities
1:00pm Friday 4th January 2013 in News
CHRISTMAS to most means getting together with friends and family to enjoy company and good food.
But to others it is a time to share with people in need of company, food and shelter.
And at Warrington Open Door At Christmas (WODAC) that is exactly what they have been doing for the past 14 years.
This year has seen more people pass through the doors at St John’s United Reformed Church Hall on Wilderspool Causeway than ever before as the recession hits.
Howard Lawrenson, a volunteer at WODAC said: “Its aim is to provide a warm comfortable space with wholesome food for those who are homeless, vulnerable, isolated and alone at Christmas time.
“Numbers have increased year on year and we are having around 36 to 40 a day during this Christmas.
“The reason is people haven’t got as much money. We are having a lot more visitors who have their own home but cannot afford or don’t have the company to prepare themselves a good hot meal.”
The service opened its doors on Christmas Day, serving hot food to those attending, offering a warm and dry place to take a break during the rainy days.
Visitors to the service can also take advantage of a chiropodist and hairdresser who have given their time to help those in need and pick up clothes donated by churches, residents and community groups.
And the service has also been reaching out to families in need with food and present parcels being delivered daily throughout the Christmas break.
WODAC ran until New Year’s Day and is lead by its committee of 12 who meet in the year to organise each festive offering along with the 63 volunteers who donate their time to the good cause.
“Volunteers are of all different ages both male and female and many are from the churches,” added Howard.
“Some come for one day or the mornings and just prepare vegetables while others prefer to sit and chat with visitors.
“We see people come back every year, you get to know them all by name and when you sit and listen to their stories you feel you want to give something back.
“A man said to me Christmas is the only time he speaks to anyone.”
They also get help from companies like A.Ward & Son Butchers on London Road, Stockton Heath, and Waterfields bakery among other donations from harvest festivals, schools and individuals.