The free Christmas luncheon that gives the lonely companionship on Christmas Day in Albany

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Steve Marshall at Albany PCYC.
Camera IconSteve Marshall at Albany PCYC. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

No matter who you are or where you are from, there is one Christmas table in Albany where everyone is welcome.

Steve and Karen Marshall have run their free community Christmas luncheon for 45 years to make sure no one is alone at Christmas.

It has grown to welcome people from across the Great Southern region and beyond, with 425 people fed last year.

It was a lonely Christmas in Katanning decades ago that planted the seed for Mr Marshall to start the free Christmas lunch.

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“I was on a park bench on my own and alone at Christmas time and someone reached out to me,” he said.

“I always vowed all those years ago as a young person that I would make someone’s Christmas day better.”

The Christmas lunch started as an event for people who were homeless or felt they had nowhere to go, but it has evolved into an occasion for anyone who is feeling lonely.

“Christmas can be very tough for a lot of people, for lots of reasons — from someone who has had a loved one pass away to domestic violence to separation,” Mr Marshall said.

“People from all walks of life should be given the opportunity — it doesn’t matter the reason — to come together and share.

“It is all about the community spirit and bringing everyone together on one day. If we can do that for one day of the year, why can’t we do that every day?”

The lunch will start at noon on Christmas Day at PCYC Albany on Sanford Road.

To register, visit christmasluncheon.org or ggmi.org or drop into the office of Albany MP Peter Watson or O’Connor MP Rick Wilson.

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