No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
– Charles Dickens
We have come to the end of a significant term of appeals to help those in desperate need in our world and indeed not too far away in our Sydney community. Our Lenten season, six weeks of Term 1, always invites us to dig deep, make sacrifices and give up so others may live a little better. And what joy there is in doing just that and being a person for others! Yesterday two Year 12 students and I delivered the wonderful collection of clothes and blankets that you donated in response to the House of Welcome’s winter clothes appeal. But as you will see below in this reflection by Rachel Parsons, the need is ongoing, and we who are blessed with so much are called upon to never lose sight of the needs of those less privileged that we are. And so we pray always that the cry of the poor, whoever and wherever they are, may always trouble us and stir our hearts to respond.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Dean of Mission
Firstly, thank you to all those people that have given in donations of doonas and winter clothes for the House of Welcome. On Thursday Ms McCullough and I delivered the clothes that were collected to the House of Welcome in Carramar – Loreto’s donations were able to fill almost 3/4 of a Minibus and a substantial part of a shipping container used at HOW for collections of food and general collections. This is a phenomenal effort, so thank you. These items will be distributed on the 20th and 21st of April (during the second week of the holidays) in a shop style setting to ensure that the refugees assisted by the HOW feel a sense of dignity. To do this they rely heavily on volunteers not only on the 20th and 21st but also beforehand for sorting. If there are any parents or students (girls have already received an email at the beginning of the collection process) who would like to assist with this process please contact me (Rachel Parsons) and I can give you some more information.
Fostering a sense of community is such an important aspect of Loreto with our emphasis on the pastoral care system and making sure there are support systems in place. Alike, at the HOW this is of critical importance, and as one of the ladies mentioned yesterday it is their welcoming atmosphere that is remembered by clients. Loreto has been involved with the HOW since its establishment. In order to allow HOW to support refugees and asylum seekers in the wider community our support is integral. After visiting, we have decided to set up collection spots for each House for the HOW food bank. At the moment especially food donations are needed as there is a scarce amount of food in their food bank (seen in the pictures – this is after restocking!). If each person donated one can of chickpeas, or tinned tomatoes or other non-perishable item next term, that is one dollar a week, and imagine how many thousands of cans we could collect and the difference that could be made. If we band together we can make a significant difference to the levels of the food bank and hence the HOW’s ability to support. This will also enable us to constantly support HOW with whom we’ve had such a long standing connection.
Just to put into perspective the importance of the food bank services (through which we can have a direct impact) Joanne shared a story about one of their current clients who receives $500 financial assistance a fortnight and pays $240 in rent each week (and that is cheap rent nowadays), leaving him with $20 a fortnight for public transport, a basic mobile phone (needed for contacting lawyers) and food. As you can see access to the food bank for basic staples is fundamental, especially in this example as $20 is $10 a week (the amount that girls who take part in the Live Below the Line challenge have for just food that week).
Social Justice Captain