The All Saints Greek Orthodox Parish and Community in Belmore have been working hard this Christmas season to help those in need through the ‘Mother Maria of Paris Mission.’
The Mission has joined forces with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Canterbury Leagues Club to deliver toys to hundreds of young children who might miss out this Christmas.
In fact, with the help of the Parish community and a $7,500 donation from the Canterbury Leagues Club, the Mission was able to distribute toys and vouchers to places such as Barnardos at Marrickville Youth Resource Centre, Riverwood Community Centre, Mission Australia, Canterbury Hospital, and Campsie Police Area Command.
The Mission has also partnered with GO Family and Friends Ministry, the St Elesa Food Initiative, Feed the People and Ark of Love, for their 2021 Christmas Hamper Appeal.
‘Good to give back’:
During one toy delivery to the Riverwood Community Centre, a number of Mission volunteers attended, as well as Bulldogs players, Matt Doorey, Jayden Okunbor and Ava Seumanufagai; Bulldogs legend and Community Ambassador, Hazem El Masri; and the President of the Canterbury Leagues Club, Peter Winchester.
One of the Mission Co-ordinators, Jenny Hantzopoulos, tells The Greek Herald the visit was fantastic and she was really happy to help.
“I love it. We went to Riverwood and Canterbury and discovered how much homelessness there is so it was a really good feeling to give back,” Ms Hantzopoulos says.
“There were also a lot of teenagers this year so having the vouchers [from the Canterbury Leagues Club] was really good and we’re looking forward to doing more of this in the future.”
‘Long history with the Greek community’:
This initiative is one of five the Bulldogs have partnered with this year in an attempt to work more closely with the community.
Bulldogs General Manager – Community, Fayssal Sari, tells The Greek Herald he wanted to partner with the Mission and All Saints Parish as they “have been a very important community contributor for a very long time.”
“The club has a long history with the Greek community and supporters and we were really impressed with the setup the Mission had at the church… so we decided to partner up,” Mr Sari says.
“It means a lot to us. We are aware of the difficulties the community faces post lockdown and finding community partners makes it easier for the community to benefit. We look forward to continue working closely with the Greek community.”
Another Mission Co-ordinator, Chris Constanti, couldn’t agree more and tells The Greek Herald the toy drive would not have been possible without the support of the Bulldogs, the Leagues Club, the volunteers and of course, the Parish community who also donated hundreds of toys.
“We’re very grateful and fortunate the Bulldogs came to All Saints and Mother Maria to support our programs. It’s really gone a long way towards supporting many families and children who may have not seen any gifts this year,” Mr Constanti concluded.