Anti-Poverty Sunday with UnitingCare SA

Posted in Faith

Caption: Bronte Wilson, Moderator of the Uniting Church in SA, spoke with UnitingCare Wesley Bowden Chief Executive, Fiona Kelly about poverty and what we can do about it.

Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it. (Anti-Poverty week slogan for 2020)

Through UnitingCare Emergency Relief Centres (ERC), Uniting Churches all over South Australia work weekly, sometimes daily, with people who are in poverty and they have seen some new and unexpected faces in the last few weeks!

At UnitingCare Taperoo (at Lefevre Uniting Church) they’ve had several NDIS clients brought to the church by carers because they don’t have enough meals to make it through the week. Often these people aren’t able to cook on their own. ‘Having access to a few healthy meals each week makes all the difference in how I’m feeling,’ said Mary who accesses services.

At UnitingCare Woodville Gardens (The Grove Uniting Church) they’ve seen some mental health case workers come across people not only out of work or unable to work, but struggling to cope with the increased anxiety of the pandemic.

At UCare Gawler, Bob, an NDIS client, came to ask for help because he couldn’t afford food or medicine even though he has a large NDIS package. He was too embarrassed to tell his family. ‘I’m scared and I don’t know what I’m going to do,’ he said.

The UCare Gawler team, which includes a financial counsellor, were able to sort out that he had been the victim of unscrupulous contracts to lease equipment that he didn’t need. They were able to work collaboratively with other services to get him a no-interest short-term loan and to re-negotiate his lease contracts. Bob was overwhelmed with gratitude. ‘Now I feel confident that I have someone to help me make sound financial decisions so that I can buy what I need and maybe a little extra, but it’s all under my control now, he said.

All of our services in metro Adelaide have been seeing international students whose parents have lost their jobs back home and the students had been planning to obtain work while they were here. These students are really embarrassed to ask for help but leave with tears of joy saying they didn’t know so many people cared about them.

How can your church help?

You can have an Anti-Poverty Sunday worship or activity to recognise poverty in SA. There are lots of different kinds of resources on our web-page including an online worship generously run by the Journey Uniting Church (partners in UnitingCare Modbury ERC), sermon starter ideas, a message from the Moderator and video infographics.

You can partner with a UnitingCare ERC to give them non-perishable food, share willing volunteers or offer to staff an ERC day over the Christmas break so that the regular volunteers can have a day off and no one has to go hungry.

You may also be moved to contribute to the work of these largely unfunded food relief centres through our Uniting Church SA Relief Fund UnitingCare ERC Appeal. Donations of $2 are tax deductible and donors can nominate an ERC to receive their donation.

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