Christmas can be one of the hardest times of year for people who live alone.
While the majority of the community is getting together with their nearest and dearest to celebrate the festival season, some people don’t have that luxury.
Minto’s Jody Roberts counts her blessings every year she wakes up surrounded by family, but also spares a thought for those facing December 25 on their own.
It was with those people in mind she took to Facebook with an innovative idea.
“I hate to think of people, especially the elderly, waking up on Christmas morning with no one around,” she said.
“So I thought it might be a good idea to connect people who would be lonely on Christmas day with one another on Facebook.”
Ms Roberts posted to the Macarthur Noticeboard with her idea on Tuesday night and was immediately met with a warm response.
A few hours later she had formed the group ‘No one left behind’ – which has racked up more than 50 members in just two days.
“I am proud that this group has recognised a need in the community and found an outlet to address that,” she said.
“The response was far greater than anything I expected.
“I’m not looking at the numbers so much as thinking about the people that will feel a little less lonely this year.”
Ms Roberts said the Facebook group will, at first, create a network for people to reach out and find other locals in similar situations.
She hopes what starts as online connections will develop into stronger bonds.
“Maybe at first it will just be people sending each other a text to wish a merry Christmas,” she said.
“But hopefully people will get together for a cup of coffee or a quick lunch.
“Just having someone to wish a merry Christmas and have them wish you one back will make such a difference.”
Ms Roberts said she was inspired to form the group after thinking back to one of the loneliest experiences of her life.
“I’m very lucky now, I wake up on Christmas with my husband and children,” she said.
“But I often think of one year when my kids were spending Christmas with their dad, and I woke up that morning, made myself Vegemite on toast, and then went back to bed.
“So I know what it feels like to be lonely on Christmas and I never want anyone to feel that if I can help it.”
Ms Roberts hopes by this time next year the group will have more than 1000 members.
Find No one left behind on Facebook.