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Festive spirit in abundance
Volunteer Jack Warner at the annual Mission Australia Christmas lunch. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

Volunteers eager to embrace the real meaning of Christmas and diners appreciative of their generosity converged on Wellington Square for the annual Mission Australia Christmas Day Lunch in the Park.

From humble beginnings, when six locals put on lunch for homeless people in the central business district 38 years ago, more than 2000 people were fed and entertained yesterday.

The Spirit of the Streets musical group and Perth Christian Choir sang Christmas carols while children delighted in face-painting, caricatures, an animal farm, stilt walkers and a special appearance by Santa.

Mission Australia state director Melissa Perry said the event was about letting people know they were not alone at Christmas.

Lewis Lin, a baker from Success, brought his wife Yan, their twin daughters Xin and Yun, 9, and four-month-old Phoebe.

Mr Lin, who moved to Perth from China five years ago, said he was pleased his daughters would get gifts. "It's happy and everything's good," he said.

Daniel Emerson