Christmas spirit flows in Warrandyte
by Sandi Miller and James Poyner
26th December 2016
Christmas good cheer was flowing as staff and volunteers at Warrandyte business, Now and Not Yet, opened its doors on Christmas day, so that no one had to spend Christmas alone.
“We shut it off at thirty as we had so many people volunteering… we had 100 customers last year, they seem to come in busloads as they come in from Ringwood,” he said.
“We had many locals who had lost family and didn’t have family to go to – one guy said to me this was great, I would have got a meal out of the freezer and sat by myself, so it’s good to come and have some people to be with,” said Mr Bradshaw .
From cooking, to waiting on tables or just lending a friendly ear, volunteers were enthusiastic in their duties.
One volunteer, Sammy, came all the way from Dandenong to help out and was just as eager to work behind the scenes as well as simply to be there for people in need.
“I want to come along and see amazing people with smiling faces and genuinely happy people – but I am happy to lend my hand in any way I can,” he said.
“We’ve had a great Christmas, but it’s not great for everybody, if we can make it a bit better, that’s great,” said another volunteer.
There were many locals who have been supported by Now and Not Yet in the past who were keen to give back to the café.
Local artist Andrea Glueck has used the café’s art space to work.
“It is such an amazing place I wanted to help Derek out, as he is so generous,” she said.
Support came from across Warrandyte, as The Rotary Club and local traders chipped in with donations.
Gardiner McGuinness put on a sausage sizzle that raised $700, which they turned into IGA vouchers, Pines Learning donated 38 handbags filled with women’s essentials collected from the local community, and all of the food for the day was donated by the café’s suppliers.
The diners were very grateful of the opportunity to feel connected to the community, as one woman told of her isolation that comes with separation from your loved ones.
“It’s nice to socialise with other people on a special day rather than sitting at home by yourself,” she said.
“It’s Warrandyte really isn’t it, it’s why I love Warrandyte, it’s such a good community,” he said.
For more on this and other Christmas adventures, see the February edition of the Warrandyte Diary.