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Sr Christine Henry: Keeping in touch with our people during COVID-19

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2020 has seen Downs & West Community Support (DWCS) reaching out and offering support in very different ways.

When lockdown and social distancing began in March 2020, it was essential for us to keep in touch with individuals, farming families and small businesses in regional, rural and remote areas of Southern Queensland during the unfolding events of the coronavirus pandemic.

People have been frightened, isolated more than ever before, and needed support and reassurance. COVID-19 is just another serious event that hit our farming communities hard.

DWCS continued to keep-in-touch by phoning four to five people a day (that’s around 268 families to date) to check in on them and to respond to any emerging needs or emergencies; and writing Thinking of You cards for 110 rural individuals and families.

Some examples of farming and family needs that have been met are:

  • Payment of overdue medical and electrical bills
  • Posted items of winter clothing
  • Distributed petrol vouchers
  • Provided emergency stockfeed who had no feed.  These farmers had destocked months ago and only kept prime breeders. They received rain in February but without follow-up rain the young pasture growth died. Selling of stock is not an option due to the coronavirus.
  • Transferred money into farmers accounts in emergency situations.

On May 9, DWCS was on the road heading west,  permitted to see one family a day.

Sitting on a fallen tree trunk at the farm gate on a cold windy day, a farming family and I enjoyed a chat, a coffee and hot scones made especially for our meeting.

Moments like these are to be remembered and cherished.  Every family we saw was invited to choose whatever they needed from the van which included a large hamper for them all.

We are now visiting families more freely although physical distancing is maintained.  Although it is hard not to give a warm hug, I have a real sense that DWCS is are loved and appreciated.

Liaising with rural organisations and local regional councils via phone or Zoom meetings is the new norm and has been valuable as we planned Wellness Days for women and men in three different locations.

Strict COVID safe policies were in place and DWCS followed these closely as we did our very best to keep everyone safe.

In late August, we organised three successful Wellness Days for country women and one men’s gathering.  A total of 58 women and 15 men attended these days and everyone was so delighted to be invited to come together for the first time in months.

The participants had an opportunity to chat, to be pampered and cared for, to learn, to be gifted with many practical gifts and to enjoy a hearty meal.

Our thoughts and prayers are for everyone impacted by this virus.

Image 1: Sr Christine Henry
Image 2: The way we were…

THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
When we have so much to praise the Lord for, we must not complain.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
True affection is to rejoice in the happiness of our dear ones. Never allow a sentiment of resentment to enter into our hearts.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
May our dear Lord Jesus fill your hearts with His own love. Amen!
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We must have patience with others as He has patience with us.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Under every difficulty try to pray fervently.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We have much to thank Him for, even for those little drawbacks on our comforts and conveniences.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Go on now as steadily as you can, relying on the Divine assistance and fear not.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
What we do ought to be done well.

The Sisters of Charity acknowledge the First Peoples and traditional custodians of this land where we live. We respect, value and honour their history, culture and spirituality. We are committed to standing in solidarity and to actively working for justice, peace and harmony in this land.

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Level 7, 35 Grafton Street
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Australia

T: (02) 9367 1222