Andy Williams sang that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year – and the Reading Salvation Armies joined forces to ensure that even those on their own could sing those lyrics with joy.
Reading West Salvation Army on the Oxford Road was the venue for a whole day of festive fun organised by members of both Reading West and Reading Central Corps. It included carol singing and a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
More than 80 people came along to enjoy the hospitality, which was co-ordinated by Lt Kenneth Guest and his wife, Captain Annette Guest.
The captain led the carol singing and a Christmas message where she showcased some of the Christmas jumpers she received. Playing the piano was Major Iain Hudson, who leads Reading Central Salvation Army.
When she spoke, Annette wanted to reassure those who were on their own for Christmas.
She said: “Jesus loved everyone in the room. To Jesus you are all important. There is not one person in this room that is not important to Jesus.
“It’s something special, something precious. We’re all loved equally; the same.”
Kenneth was masterminding the kitchen process.
He said, ahead of serving up: “It’s going really well, we’re catering for 80 people.
“It’s hugely important that the Salvation Army offers a community meal. There are so many people who are on their own at Christmas, there are so many people who don’t have family and friends, so many people living in unsuitable accommodation – I’ve got people here who are staying in a Travelodge, I’ve got people who don’t have anywhere at all, and there are people who live in bedsits.
“It’s takes a huge amount of work – but it’s worth it.”