Salvation Army Christmas lunch

Salvation Army Christmas lunch

Some traditions are worth keeping and this 27-year-old one involving NSW Farmers that provides a delicious Christmas lunch for some of Sydney’s most needy is one of them.

The meal at the Salvation Army streetlevel mission in Sydney’s Surry Hills is made possible each year thanks to the support of the NSW Farmers Pork Committee with the help of Australian Pork Ltd.

Ean Pollard, a grains and pork producer from Young in NSW and Chair of the NSW Farmers Pork Committee, is proud to see the tradition his father, Ron Pollard, started all those years ago with the Salvation Army continuing today.

Celebrity Chef Colin Fassnidge, The Block contestant, Mark McKie, NSW Farmers Association’s Ean Pollard, The Block contestant and Australian Pork representative, Mitch Edwards, and The Salvation Army Sydney Streetlevel Mission leader, Mitchell Evans cook up a storm for the Sydney Streetlevel Christmas lunch celebration in 2019. (Photo credit: Caleb Wong)

“NSW pork farmers have been working on this for 27 years now and my father, when he was Chairman of the NSW Farmers Committee, established this program. It is great to see it last,” Ean told The Muster.

The concept originally started out with the donation of a pig which the Salvation Army would use to feed those less fortunate on in a park in Redfern each year on Christmas Day.

But over the years, the process of carting the pig and having it slaughtered became difficult so pork producers started to make donations instead to the NSW Farmers Pork Committee. The committee then donates the money raised to the Salvation Army to provide the lunch.

This year’s lunch will be held on Tuesday December 22 at the Salvation Army’s streetlevel mission in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

A traditional handover of the pork is one of the features of the day with a representative of NSW Farmers making the presentation to the Salvation Army’s Mitch Edwards and his wife Robyn.

Janine Pollard, Laura Pollard, Kiera Chalker (nee Pollard), Quinn Chalker & Ean Pollard with farm dog, Boss on the bank of the Burrangong Creek which runs through the Pollard’s farm.

Ean has not missed a Salvation Army Christmas lunch for 15 years but with a bumper harvest taking place, he may not be able to get away from the farm to attend.

But his wife Janine and one of his daughters – who are also now third generation pig farmers – are hopeful they can make the trip to Sydney to take part in the celebration.

“My dad was a first-generation pig farmer, I’m a second-generation pig farmer and I have two daughters (Kiera Chalker and Laura Pollard) on the farm who are third generation pig farmers and they have also been to the event as well and supported it,” Ean said.

“This is very close to my heart and I would really like to see this tradition continue on into the future.”

Great traditions: (L-R) Salvation Army’s Mitchell Edwards; Australian Pork representative, Mitch Edwards; NSW Farmers’ Ean Pollard with a happy customer

How the day works

The day will kick-off at 7am with a breakfast BBQ of pork sausages and egg sandwiches, expertly barbecued as usual by a team of NSW Farmers representatives.

NSW Farmers’ representatives traditionally prepare the breakfast BBQ while the celebrity chefs prepare the glazed ham in the kitchen.

The traditional handover of a beautifully prepared glazed ham will take place at midday and then, due to COVID restrictions, takeaway lunch boxes will be prepared.

Celebrity chefs often get behind the lunch initiative with Colin Fassnidge last year lending his support to the event.

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