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Henley has generosity in the bag

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The MSC Mission Action Group at Henley Beach parish got more than they bargained for when they asked members of their community to collect essential items to fill 50 bags of love for Adelaide’s homeless.

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The group was overwhelmed when parishioners took the invitation to help others to the next level, providing enough goods to prepare nearly 300 life-changing packages for Adelaide’s disadvantaged.

Inspired to involve the parish community in sharing love in a local way, Henley Beach MSC Mission Action Group members Cheryl Wedding, Barbara Conlon and Christine Henderson sought advice from Life in a Bag, resulting in the parish’s first ever ‘Love in a Bag’ campaign.

Parishioners were asked to bring a specifically-requested food, hygiene or clothing item to Mass each week over 12 weeks.

Long-term parishioner and Pastoral Council representative Ms Christine Henderson said initially the group was hoping to put together 50 bags.

“I was overwhelmed when I saw the number of muesli bars (our first item) people had brought to Mass. The same thing happened every week after; I would walk out of Mass with big garbage bags of items,” she said.

“So many people got involved, many brought more than was required, parishioners knitted scarves and beanies and Star of the Sea School students collected the weekly items in their classes.”

Ms Henderson spoke of the impact of the program on her faith in the community.

“It has been humbling and inspiring. The youngest to the oldest got involved, everybody was talking about it, everybody was interested and wanted to help, and wanted feedback on how we were tracking. Many commented that they loved how simple it was and that they were helping people in their own community.”

Following the popularity and success of the initiative, the Mission Action Group is hoping to set up an ongoing program for parishioners to give practical assistance.

The hundreds of bags packed by parishioners and Star of the Sea students were distributed to The Magdalene Centre, Free 79 and Drug Awareness Rehab.

For more information on upcoming MSC Mission Action Group programs or how to join, please visit www.henleybeachparish.com.au or email Henley Beach parish pastoral associate, Barbara Conlon at barb@henleybeachparish.com.au

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