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What a cracker of a night it was!

That’s how the evening was promoted – ‘A Cracker of a Night!’ And it didn’t disappoint.

I’ve long known of Melina Shamworth’s business and her dedication to make a real difference in the lives of as many people as she possibly can. But last night was the first time I’ve had the chance to attend one of her events.

After being greeted at the Registration table at the Fitzroy Town Hall, we received our name badge, bottle of water and were escorted to one of the 8 large tables where work was already well underway. I got to start at the card making table where we assembled already-cut pieces to make some simple yet delightful Christmas cards. Conversation with the 7 complete strangers at the table flowed easily, bouncing from ‘where do you work?’ to exchanging opinions on Downton Abbey TV series, the book 50 Shades of Gray and raising teenagers.

Melina briefly interrupted our work to talk with us about her company, M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Woman, and where the results of our evening’s work was to go. If we could work quickly enough, we would be able to create Christmas Crackers, cards and table decorations for at least 2,000 people who would otherwise miss out on these nice treats on Christmas Day. All of our creations would be distributed through FoodBank Australia.

Then it was time for Pizza and casual networking before being invited to move to another table and meet new people. I’d been eyeing off the huge pile of small bright coloured sticks at another table, so that’s where I headed. Count 16, put them in a bag with instructions and voila – a game that would later be inserted in the crackers.

Other tables cut the hats for inside the crackers, and made the tubes, tissue paper wrapping and ribbon for the final assembly. Small chocolates, an inspirational quote, a ‘may contain nuts’ warning and, of course, the thing that makes the cracker ‘pop’ completed the contents.

Then it was all hands on deck to assemble the crackers while the chatting and laughing continued to fill the room with the wonderful sound of a community working happily together to reach a common goal.

And so we did. At the end of the night, Melina assured us we’d reached the goal (teasingly suggesting we’d done better work than the group in Sydney had the previous night!) and told us to be sure to collect our ‘goodie bags’ as we left. Goodie bags? I had no expectation we’d be taking something away with us … much less 2 cookbooks, some sample makeup and other bits and pieces were our reward for what was really very enjoyable and easy work.

Actually – I tell a lie. The real reward I received that night was a full heart, a warm feeling of meaningful contribution, a lightness in my step and a smile on my face knowing that, thanks to Melina, I, too, had been able to make a difference that night.

PS. I encourage you to visit Melina’s site and consider attending some of her events. Especially if you’re single – she has Soup Kitchen Nights that only unattached people can attend, and I hear that several successful couplings have blossomed from these evenings!



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