The Stake Presidency of Sydney Australia Mortdale Stake hosted a reception for the members of the Stake and the representatives of St George Domestic Violence Action Group, Advance Diversity Services, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Arncliffe Public School and Community Hands and Feet in conjunction with “The Gift Box Project 2015”, an initiative to assist those who are experiencing trauma in the form of domestic violence and homelessness.
The project involved inviting members of the Stake and their friends to fill boxes with selected items to be donated to hospitals, women’s refuges and other organisations for use by customers and their families needing basic necessities.
At the beginning of the evening, the young men and women were at hand to receive boxes from those who attended and filled more boxes as there were also unboxed donations that were received. The boxes were then sorted according to target recipients.
Over 600 gift boxes were assembled.
The messages of those who spoke at the reception invoked love and concern for those who are in need.
Ms. Antoinette Kesby a Social Worker gave an insight into the work they do as a front line service dealing with trauma caused by domestic violence, crisis experienced by refugees, children affected by violence, homelessness and other acute and emergency cases. In an interview with Ms Joanna IIlipolous, also a Social Worker, she said that they see 75,000 customers presenting or taken to the hospital each year. They provide customers with assistance during crisis and ongoing support in the community.
Ms. Gaya Dharmagesan, who works as a Team Leader in the Settlement Program of the Advance Diversity Services, said that their work is more on the prevention of violence and trauma. The organisation allows refugees and migrants to access legal assistance and available social and economic opportunities. She urged those present at the reception to “continue doing what you do”, help the most vulnerable members of the community.
Community Hands and Feet was represented by its founder Mr. Joe Brown. He provided amazing statistics in relation to the work they do. They provide nearly 500 food packs for the homeless in the city of Sydney area each Friday. Their vision is to see that no one makes their beds on the streets of Sydney in time to come and that every needy and struggling families are supported and helped.
The Federal Member of Parliament Mr David Coleman, who was also in attendance, stated that “it is comforting that we have people who are willing to help the community” and that it was a significant day for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints.
The service project was inspired. The Saviour Jesus Christ taught us to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others and that there are special blessings in giving.
President Barton in his closing remarks quoted “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
The evening reminded those present of the Saviour’s invitation to love one another and that through their benevolence and generosity they can make the life of those experiencing trauma and hurt a little better.
Sister Angelina Dycueco, Mortdale Ward