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This year St Mary’s House of Welcome (SMHOW) in Fitzroy is working to ensure Christmas is as merry for our homeless community by providing festive meals and in the delivery of Christmas hampers. Volunteers are working pack up to 750 hampers over the next few weeks, said Robina Bradley, CEO of SMHOW. In exciting news, SMHOW’s campaign, Welcome Relief @ Christmas has been chosen to be featured by the City of Melbourne in their Christmas giving campaign.

The John Pierce Centre's (JPC) annual Christmas Rally will be a little different this year. Instead of going into the centre, JPC's Christmas Rally Mass will be online on Facebook and their website from 12pm on Sunday 13th December. At 1pm, JPC is hosting its online Christmas community event on Zoom. All are invited to join the JPC community for some fun and games online. Prizes to be won so wear your best Christmas outfit! 

World Children’s Day (November 20) is a timely reminder of the vulnerabilities of children and the need to ensure primary school aged children are in the playground – not in prison. Jesuit Social Services’ Worth A Second Chance campaign has just launched a new animated short film illustrated by Melbourne artist Ben Jelfs and narrated by Aboriginal author and activist Marlee Silva, highlighting the importance of keeping children connected with school, family and the community and the long-lasting damage that can be caused by contact with the justice system.

Congratulations to Vinnies Victoria, whose International Student Aid initiative has been shortlisted for the Volunteering Victoria ‘COVID-19 Innovation and Resilience Award’. The award recognises predominately volunteer-run organisations for demonstrating innovation and resilience in adapting to accommodate COVID requirements and changes while still delivering high-quality services to their community. 

Jesuit Social Services has just announced the establishment of the place-based centre for research and action, with the support of multi-year funding from Gandel Philanthropy and the Victorian Government. This is a new national research, advocacy and capacity-building centre into place-based approaches to ensure all Australian communities have opportunities to flourish.

Each year ACRATH participates in the United Nation’s 16 Days Campaign to end gender-based violence. The UN's 16 days of activism against gender-based violence begins on 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and ends on 10th December (Human Rights Day). ACRATH is holding two special lunchtime events this year to mark the campaign on 2nd December and 10th December.

Recognising the extraordinary challenges many have faced in 2020, the John Pierce Centre staff have continued to support and connect with Deaf people across Victoria who already vulnerable to isolation, through provision of pastoral care, family support, group activities and church services online in different and creative ways. JPC's November Appeal aims to ensures its important outreach work can continue.

Congratulations to our member organisation VMCH, which has been named as a finalist in the Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)’s 2020 innovAGEING National Awards. VMCH has been shortlisted in the Increasing Care and Service Productivity category, for the implementation of the Umps smart power plug technology for at-home aged care clients.

The Good Samaritan Inn has just finished some much needed building renovations! They now have a revised kitchen to offer further safety for children and families accessing the communal crisis accommodation. And along with the kitchen, bathrooms have been renovated including a disability friendly bathroom, allowing greater access for clients with mobility issues to access our service. A security fence has also been built around the parameters of the property to ensure greater safety and security for clients staying at the Inn.

ACRATH begins the 16 Days campaign on 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and it concludes on 10th December, International Human Rights Day. Human trafficking is one of the greatest examples of violence against women and girls.  Human trafficking is a $150 billion global industry – and growing. Millions of women and girls are forced to work in terrible conditions for little pay and no chance of an education and many are forced to marry.  To assist communities, workplaces, parishes and schools to take part in the 16 Days Campaign ACRATH has stories to tell and events to attend.

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