Meet the ‘Butcher Family’, affectionately named for eight years of voluntarily carving the Christmas ham at Wesley Mission’s Shepherd’s Tucker Christmas Day lunch.
There’s the father, Graham, who every year brings his specialised butcher knives to carve the Christmas ham and chicken, after spending over 45 years working in the meat industry.
“He can cut it very economically for them too,” laughs Lorraine, Graham’s wife.
Graham chuckles, “You see how quickly the chicken and ham disappears.”
Lorraine enjoys laying the Christmas crackers on the tables and their son Matthew, waits the tables and connects with the guests. Their daughter Heidi and son-in-law Morris, who come every second year, slice the fruit and Christmas pudding.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the ‘Butcher Family’ always make Shepherd’s Tucker a priority in their calendar. And every year, Matthew even travels all the way from his home in Tamworth to take part.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” he smiles.
Here at Wesley Mission we encounter many people who don’t have a home or family for Christmas. Shepherd’s Tucker brings together people who are lonely or experiencing homelessness to share a meal and connect with one another.
“It’s about putting things back into the community,” says Lorraine. “It’s so rewarding to see the look on their faces.”
Matthew adds, “I’m just trying to make their day a little bit brighter. And we get to know a few of them. We see them come back again year after year.”
For the ‘Butcher Family’, this Christmas tradition comes from their desire to serve others. Driven by their faith, they choose to follow in the example of Jesus Christ, who came to this world to serve others. For this family, they take this moment to pause and remember the true reason for the season.
“I think that’s what the Lord would want us to do,” says Matthew.
Lorraine adds, “You give them something and you serve them. And they don’t get many people serving them.”
For Lorraine and Graham, volunteering flows throughout their whole lives. Now retired, every week Graham and Lorraine volunteer at Sydney Adventist Hospital. Lorraine assists as a nurse’s aid and Graham supports at concierge.
Their son Matthew is also in the business of caring for people. He works on the advisory council at Flourish in Tamworth, a recovery service for people facing mental illness.
“I’ve been in the helping profession for most of my life. I just really enjoy it.”
Eight years and counting, the ‘Butcher Family’ will be back at Shepherd’s Tucker this year and for many more years to come.