The local community is being encouraged to donate to the ‘Christmas Bowl’, to help communities threatened by conflict and disaster around the world.
It is the 70th year of this Christmas tradition, which is supported by most Christian churches.
Rev Wayne Sheean, of St Paul’s Anglican Church Deniliquin, explained that Rev Frank Byatt had a vision and feeling in 1949 that he needed to help people.
“So, he put a bowl on the middle of the dinner table at Christmas and asked his family and guests to make a monetary donation to help people.
“He then asked the same of his church and the Christmas Bowl has been something done ever since.”
The money is sent to the National Council of Churches in Australia, and is then distributed to where it is needed in the world and Australia.
“What we do is the same thing, I put a bowl on a table in the middle of the church and we have envelopes, so people's donations are private,” Rev Sheean said.
These donations are a hand up, and not a hand out, according to Rev Sheean.
“What we have found over the years is that supporting people long-term means we must support communities instead,” he said.
“This can happen in many ways, including teaching a community how to grow crops and provide the tools to do so to deliver a sustainable, ongoing donation rather than just giving out money.
“We also use the money for healthcare for vulnerable women and children, food and water relief, assisting farmers, village operations and advocacy for refugees’ rights and acceptance.
“If you build up the village, you also build up a person’s self esteem,” Rev Sheean said.
Money for the Christmas Bowl can be donated at the St Paul’s Anglican Church from now until the new year, online at www.actforpeace.org.au/Christmas-Bowl/donation or call 1800 025 101.