St Stephen's Uniting Church's annual Christmas Day luncheon has been scratched due to COVID-19 restrictions, with organisers instead offering a Christmas Eve celebration with take away meals.
Chair of church council Ross Spence said if they hosted a sit-down Christmas lunch this year organisers would have had to exclude people who were not vaccinated against COVID under government restrictions.
Instead, organisers decided to offer take away meals and tea and coffee in the grounds to all residents on Christmas Eve at 7pm.
The church will also host a Christmas Eve pageant from 6pm, but only vaccinated residents will be able to enter the building due to Victorian government restrictions.
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Families can also contact the church in the lead-up to December 25 to organise food parcels for Christmas Day.
Mr Spence said COVID had exacerbated many people's mental health issues and caused more residents to feel isolated and alone.
He said it was important to remember the festive season was not joyous for everyone.
"Things are pretty low at the moment for a lot of people," he said.
"They've had many challenges and not everyone is well off and not everyone has connections.
"The church is wanting to reach out in that way and if we can make contribution to their Christmas we'd like to do it."
Mr Spence said organisers were determined to provide some sort of Christmas meal this year, even in the face of the ever-changing COVID-19 situation.
He said it was more feasible to host the celebration on Christmas Eve this year and the take away meals could be heated up that night or saved for Christmas Day.
"It's important because people are still out there in need," he said.
"If we can in anyway bring people together and show there is concern for people, we want to do it, to make their Christmas brighter."
This year will be the 13th year St Stephen's Uniting Church has offered a Christmas meal to people in need.
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