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2000 people to attend City Mission Christmas dinner

Thursday 24 Dec 2009 5:55 p.m.

By Kim Choe

City missions around the country are gearing up for their biggest event of the year - Christmas dinner.

The biggest of these takes place in Auckland, where 450 volunteers will serve a two course meal to 2000 people tomorrow.

It was all hands on deck at the Devonport Naval Base as volunteers loaded ovens and stocked shelves in preparation for a festive feast.

The navy donated its kitchen facilities to the Auckland City Mission, but is normally only used to catering for 400-500 people at any one time.

Petty officer chef Coffey, of the Royal New Zealand Navy, says it is the most people he has ever cooked for.

“This is quite a big jump for us, cooking for up to 2000,” he says.

It will take volunteers over 12 hours to prepare over 250 kilograms each of turkey and ham, plus over 300 kilograms of potatoes - making the feast one of the navy's biggest missions of the year.

Over at the vector arena, it may have looked quiet, but behind the scenes preparations were in full swing. 

There are 240 Christmas cakes to be sliced, and countless other tasks to be done.

Volunteer Vicki Allan says she loves getting involved in the mission events.

“It's really exciting; I’m actually really looking forward to being a part of it,” she says.

“I think it's going to be a great atmosphere tomorrow and yeah, just going to be really cool.”

It has taken at least 2450 volunteer hours to set up.

Diane Robertson, of the Auckland City Mission, says because this year’s event is held at the Vector Arena, every one gets to eat in the same room.  

“It's the first year the vector arena has hosted the Mission Megameal, and has one big advantage over the old town hall - here everyone will eat in the same room,” she says.

She says tomorrow will see one very large family for Christmas dinner tomorrow.

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