The Christmas period is a time of enjoying with friends and family, but for some it can also be a difficult and lonely time.
It’s for this reason that a local Ammanford church has arranged free dinners every year on December 25th since the very first one in the 1990s and they have gone from strength to strength ever since.
This shows the true Christmas spirit with people giving up their own time to help others less fortunate and make this time of year happier for them.
Having been held at Ammanford Pensioners Hall in the heart of the town centre for many years, Llandybie Memorial Hall in 2019 opened its doors on Christmas Day to people of all ages and backgrounds from the town and surrounding villages who would have been spending the festive celebrations alone.
Those in the community who were not able to afford a full dinner were provided with a free three-course meal with all the trimmings – including turkey, choice of dessert, mince pies and tea and coffee.
The alternative on Wednesday lunchtime would have been an empty home and perhaps an empty plate.
There was also free transport arranged to and from the hall for anyone that had no other way of travelling.
Organised annually by Ammanford Evangelical Church for over 20 years, the Community Christmas Day meal has become very popular with many people returning year after year.
The annual dinner again couldn’t have run without support from generous volunteers who gave up their own time at Christmas.
More than 60 helpers from the local area worked as a team in front of and behind the scenes and contributed towards another great afternoon for those present.
The tasks, which began on Christmas Eve afternoon, included serving, cooking, driving, shopping, setting up the hall, washing up, tidying up or engaging with guests.
The meal in Llandybie saw around 60 people, including many first-time guests, get together to enjoy each other’s company whilst eating food and singing carols.
Each person was also given a small gift to wish them a very Merry Christmas.
The items of food and desserts were kindly donated to the dinner by local businesses and individuals.
Guests were treated to a brilliant twenty-minute puppet show presentation provided by Stepp Up West Wales Puppets.
Sammy Davies, Pastor of Ammanford Evangelical Church commented: “Every year it’s an absolute joy to organise the Christmas Day meal to show that there’s plenty of love and care in our community.
“This year we’ve had lots of new guests and a tremendous number of volunteers.”
“It really goes to show that there’s a need and a great willingness to meet that need.”
Similar events with the same aim were also held in other parts of the county and further afield on Wednesday.
The free Christmas dinner organised by Ammanford Evangelical Church will return in 12 months’ time.
Report and Photos: Nathan Jones