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  • Dial-A-Mum is a free, annonymous phone counselling helpline run by trained volunteers who are all mothers. Our service is available to the wider community from school-age children to grandparents. Please call us on: 02 9477 6777 from 8.00 am to 11.00 pm.

Dial A Mum supporting Wayside Chapel Christmas 2010

Dial A Mum preparing for Christmas 2010

Wayside is gearing up to once again host its famous Christmas Day Street Party. It’s a great day, when people of all traditions, and at all ends of the social strata, sit together for good fellowship, food and fun.

In the lead up to the event there is a flurry of volunteer activity, with food being sourced, presents being gifted, decorations being made, and in the case of Solicitor and Marriage Celebrant, Carol Flanagan, thousands of Christmas cakes being baked.

Carol is a volunteer with Dial-a-Mum, a telephone support service, operated and funded by a group of trained volunteer Mums. The calls received by the Mums are from people who just need someone to talk to. Like many of the people who visit Wayside, the callers are mostly dealing with issues of loneliness and mental health. “There is a synergy in the philosophy of Dial-a-Mum and Wayside”, said Carol. “Pastor Graham Long came to one of our volunteer events and spoke of meeting people, not fixing them. This is what we try to do. We don’t offer solutions; we offer support and understanding from 8am to 11pm, 7 days per week.”

It’s a very warming experience sitting in Carol’s kitchen. Some of this warmth is straight from the oven where little Christmas cakes are being whisked in and out, but most of it has to do with the people who have gathered in the kitchen to help.

Today Carol’s fellow bakers are Dial-a-Mum’s Chris and Jill as well as German travellers Sophie, Judith & Anna. Three months of work goes into creating the thousands of individually wrapped Christmas cakes that will be delivered to Wayside and another Sydney charity on Christmas Eve, and everyone is kept busy. Chris says, “We share a great sense of camaraderie and have loads of fun but we still get the job done.”

At Jill’s coaxing, Carol keeps jumping off her chair to check the oven.  Jill explains “This is the first time I’ve ever baked Christmas cakes and it’s my batch in the oven now.”

By contrast, Carol is a very experienced baker. This is her 30th year of baking Christmas cakes for charity and the 4th year that she has baked for Wayside. It’s a costly exercise as there is no scrimping on ingredients; the cakes are chocked full of glace fruits and almonds. “If I’m going to do this, I want to do it well and I’ve been very lucky to source ingredients at cost price”, she said.

Every weekend in the lead up to Christmas, Carol’s kitchen will be a hive of activity. She’ll be joined by different Dial-a-Mum’s, and more German travellers are on their way. So, after 3 months of constant baking for charity, how will Carol be spending Christmas Day? “I’ll be cooking a sit down meal for about 20 friends and family!” No doubt each will be given an individually wrapped Christmas cake to take home.

If you’d like to volunteer for Dial-a-Mum, please call us on 02 9477 6777 or visit our website for more information @ www.dial-a-mum.org.au.

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