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Community chaplains warm hearts and hands

Community Chaplains Debbie Gadd and Phillis Willis delivering Covid compliant Christmas Gift Bags to residents of Tumbarumba Multi Purpose Centre.

Community Chaplains have been out and about visiting farm gates and doorsteps since the Black Summer Fires in 2019-2020, as part of the Tumbarmba Community Church ‘Recovering Together’ Project.

Along with an opportunity to tell their stories to compassionate attentive ears, fire affected locals across the Snowy Valleys and Greater Hume region have been blessed with gift bags of home crafted and baked goods, wellbeing resources and firewood vouchers.

An incredible $67,200 of firewood vouchers have been personally delivered to 224 properties across the region in the past 15 months.

Initial financial support came from the Australian Christian Churches Mission Arm (AACI), as Tumbarumba Community Church Leaders recognized the widespread loss of firewood resources across the region. 

The church was then successful in obtaining grant funding from FRRR, MPHN, Border Trust and St Vinnies, to continue the distribution of vouchers up until the present time.

“We are now heading into our second winter since the devastating fires swept through our community” said Pastor Debbie Gadd of Tumbarumba Community Church.

“It has been such a privilege to bless our community with double loads of split firewood. The gifts have been so very well received. The fire affected are so touched that we recognize the loss of such valuable resource – that can be taken for granted until it is no longer available. Many property owners have relied on the firewood sourced from their own properties for generations, and suddenly they were left with empty paddocks and empty woodsheds.”

“We are so very grateful to those who provided the grant funding to enable this work to continue. Also to our three firewood suppliers: Nathan Morton, Kyle Pendrick and particularly Nicki Harvey and her young offsider Molly. They are in process of delivering approximately 200 double loads of firewood across the region. Nicki and Molly’s compassion for the fire affected is truly inspirational.” said Ps Deb.

“Our Community Chaplains are fully qualified and work under the umbrella of ‘Chaplaincy Australia’.

“We have come to recognize the importance of chaplaincy within our community. TCC has three qualified chaplains plus one in training at present. Chaplaincy has become an important arm of our ministry and will remain so into the future.” said Ps Deb.

“While the firewood funds have been exhausted, our chaplains will be continuing to visit farm gates and doorsteps across the region in the days ahead. The opportunity to share our stories is vital as we ‘Recover Together’” said Ps Debbie.

If anyone is in need of a listening ear, or has concerns for the wellbeing of family, friends or neighbours, contact Ps Debbie Gadd 0427712949, and chaplaincy visits will be arranged.