Bring Joy to Others This Christmas
We often forget that here in Australia, the 1% of people who are at the top of the income scale live in a household with average earnings that are 26 times those of someone in the lowest 5%.
A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald quotes 15-year-old Billie, ‘My mother sometimes didn’t send us to school because there was no food to send us with, and the shame of going empty handed was not worth the education we got’.
Another student Anna tells in a study conducted by Jesuit Social Services, ‘At the mainstream school I attended, I had to pay $6 for excursions, and I could never pay. I’d have to go and sit with the year below while my whole year went off. I felt poor. It sucked.’
These are realities which might seem so far away from those of ours, but they are happening right here in Sydney. Families like Billie’s and Anna’s struggle to get by day by day, let alone have the resources to celebrate Christmas.
This term we will be creating food hampers here at Abbotsleigh to give as Christmas gifts to those who live in parts of Sydney different to our own and who face challenges not faced by most of us.
In the past, we have simply donated items that were then collected and made into hampers by Anglicare volunteers. This year, we will be going one step further and putting the hampers together ourselves, investing our own time and love into them; investing something of ourselves. The person who lifts the lid on the box that your daughter helps to create, though living in Sydney, will have a different face to hers, a different family crowding around them, a completely different life story...and your daughter will be helping them to celebrate the festive season.
Your daughter may ask you to add some extra items to your regular grocery shop. She will also be encouraged to sacrifice a smoothie or slushie or similar so that she can contribute personally towards the hamper she will make with her peers.
So, I am asking the Abbotsleigh community to give generously and join me in bringing joy to others this Christmas.