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Indooroopilly expands its circle of care

Indooroopilly members Malcolm Dunning (left), Rev. Henry Swindon and Tim Dunning at MissionAustralia with some of the parcels

Indooroopilly Uniting Church was having a review of their Circles of Care Pastoral Care program. In the ensuing survey, two Circles expressed interest in doing something for a local family in need for Christmas. Having mentioned this to one of the members of the congregation, SueAnne Swindon, a social worker who works for MissionAustralia, a shared vision of partnership between Indooroopilly Uniting Church and MissionAustralia, working with local families in desperate need of support, was born.

These needy families come from various cultures; they often are waiting out the two year period before visas can be issued that allows them assistance from the government or four year waiting period for help with housing. English is a second language and employment very difficult to find. There are often significant health issues involved. Current living situations of a family of four living in a garage on one mattress 14 km from where we sat, touched all our hearts.

The partnership saw MissionAustralia providing an introductory letter about the work of their Pathways to Prevention Program, profiles of families (names replaced by a code) which included the age and sex of members of the family, special needs and current areas of support. Case workers from MA also supplied a list of culturally appropriate items to include in a Christmas/Back to school hamper and common culture specific recipes (for our education).

Within 12 hours of sharing the partnership vision with the Circles of Care, seven Circles indicated they would like to ‘adopt’ a family and prepare a hamper. From little things, big things grow. 34 families have now been adopted along with a fund of money for Mission Australia to use for back to school packs for relocated families. This act of Christian compassion in action has involved over 300 members of the congregation and some of their friends.

One family suffering great illness and loss this year, gave the gift of a treasured family guitar to their ‘adopted family’s’ 15 year old son.

One ‘friend’ of a congregational member, mourning the loss of a close family member, offered the entire contents of the now empty house for use by Mission Australia to support their ‘adopted’ Vietnamese family.

Circles of Care coordinator Mrs Dale MacGregor said the 37 hampers expected have grown to over hundreds of baskets, crates, boxes and shopping bags,

"2008 has seen the birth of tangible caring amongst the local community in a very personal way."

Photo : Indooroopilly members Malcolm Dunning (left), Rev. Henry Swindon and Tim Dunning at MissionAustralia with some of the parcels