GALLERY: The most precious gift this Community Christmas
FOURTY-THREE volunteers from all walks of life gave the most precious gift of all on Christmas Day - their presence.
Christmas Day was celebrated with a free community Christmas lunch by 180 people who attended yesterday's Picnic in the Park event at Freedom Park in Pialba.
Organiser Janet Newman attended her first lunch 11 years ago when she first moved to Hervey Bay with her husband and didn't have family in the area to spend the festive season with.
For the past five years Ms Newman has taken over the helm of the annual event after the pastor who came up with the concept left the region.
"This event is an opportunity for people to connect," she said.
"People have made friends by being there. I came from a big family so when I moved here I thought why not join another?
"We have all sorts of people attend from single parents, older couples and people who are a little down on their luck - it is an incredibly varied group..
"Mainly it was created so people don't have to spend Christmas on their own but we are also getting a few groups and families coming who just enjoy our company.
Running from midday until 3pm, the menu options catered for vegetarians and vegans.
The feast included two cold meats, three salads, fruit platters and a Lions Christmas Cake with custard to finish.
Ms Newman thanked all the community groups, organisations and local businesses who had sponsored and donated to make the event possible.
"Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who have given up time and energy to support the community Christmas spirit."