By Amanda Murthy
No rain or shine, not even the AFL Grand Finals could stop parishioners of the Floreat- Wembley Parish from gathering together for a good cause.
On Saturday 29 September, some 30 parishioners gathered at the St Cecilia Parish centre at 10am to pack around 113 hospital toiletry bags, which were donated to the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM).
Recognising the need for toiletry supplies among the underprivileged Aboriginal patients, parishioner, Daydawn Advocacy Centre Lawyer Fiona Lester initiated a donation drive which received an overwhelming response from the parish community.
“Many of these people are from remote communities and have no family or friends in Perth,” Ms Lester said.
“After I attended a workshop organised by ACM, I realised there was a need to assist the Aboriginal patients in some way, as many of them were arriving in hospital without pyjamas or toiletries.
“I was deeply inspired and encouraged by the wonderful work that the ACM does, particularly the pastoral assistants that go into the hospitals, and thought this would be a great way we could build relationships between the parish and Aboriginal community,” she added.
With the support of her Parish Priest Father Kazimierz Stuglik, she spoke to the congregation at Masses, and put articles our in the Parish newsletter explaining the cause.
“Within three weeks, people had donated hundreds of toiletries – it got so big that the back of the church and the parish office started to overflow,” Ms Lester recalled.
“We had a busy bee so that the parish community could get together to assemble the bags and that exercise was fun for us, as we got to know one another better.”
Ms Lester said she was so happy to see that those present were openhearted and generous and were very enthusiastic about being able to do something practical that would make a real difference to people in need. She explained some people even went the extra mile to add personal touches to the packages.
“One lady sat and made ‘Get Well Soon’ cards to put in each bag, and there were some lovely ladies who brought their sewing machines and made the bags from scratch.”
Parish Secretary Rita Morgan said she was touched to see so many parishioners dedicate their time and effort to the cause.
“I saw many people come back with more supplies, and offer their help wherever needed.
“It just reflects on the amazing community we have built here – people who are always ready to give their time, energy, money to do something good,” she concluded