“Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous. Let us help those in need in our neighbourhood.” - Pope Francis, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a global reach, impacting countries all over the world in a variety of ways. During this time of uncertainty, it’s easy to become swept up in the doom and gloom of mainstream media and forget those amongst us who are most in need. While we are undoubtedly living in challenging times, reaching out to others with love and compassion during days like these matters more than ever.
John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow have come together with other organisations in the Macarthur area to do just that—providing comfort and support to vulnerable Aboriginal Elders and indigenous families in the area, who have been struggling through these difficult times.
Panic buying during COVID-19 meant that many vulnerable people were left without essential items and goods. John Therry Aboriginal Education Officer, Cherrylle Nau, and Aboriginal School Support Officer, Brian Nau, have generously given up their time to assist in the packing and delivery of food parcels, including essential items donated by the staff and students of John Therry.
“This is a wonderful example of the ‘J.T. spirit’ in supporting those who most need assistance,” Mrs Nau said. “The families were overwhelmed by the generosity and the acts of kindness provided by the John Therry staff and students.”
John Therry School Principal, Wayne Marshall, said assisting those in need was a privilege and an opportunity to demonstrate their school charism.
“With our strong Catholic and Marist spirit, our aim at John Therry is to make a difference and help others,” he said. “To be able to join forces with other support groups within the area to help those that are in need during these hard times is a privilege. We are blessed to be part of a community coming together. Donating food items or parcels is a great way of helping out the community and can make a huge difference to the lives of an individual or family.”
In addition to essential supplies for the food parcels, John Therry also kindly donated eight computers, allowing people to keep in contact with their loved ones and the community during this significant period of isolation and stress.
The generosity of John Therry was greatly appreciated by the Elders, who spoke of their gratitude and the difference the donated computers will make to their community.
Auntie Mel, an Aboriginal Elder, and manager of the South West Multicultural and Community Centre, said the computer donated to the centre will help support their community, keep in contact with suppliers, and allow families to do job research.
Auntie Mel’s sentiments were echoed by Auntie Sarah, a volunteer at the Young Spirit Mentoring Program for disengaged youth. "I am overwhelmed,” she said, “as a family with eight children now have access to a computer at home."
Being part of the experience has been particularly memorable for Mr Nau. “It is a wonderful feeling knowing we can make a difference and help those in need in our community,” he said. “To see a smile on their faces and to hear the families say ‘thank you’ is priceless and rewarding.”
Other support groups partnering with John Therry to reach out and provide support include Campbelltown Catholic Club, Community Connect Macarthur, Turbans 4 Australia, Shining Stars Foundation, YSMP (Young Spirit Mentoring Program), Youth Services Australia and South West Multicultural Centre.