Add to your shopping trolley for World Day of the Poor

2 November 2020
Maeve Brown at the Jesuit Refugee Service Food Bank for those doing it tough this year. Image: Supplied


Celebrate our common humanity
World Day of the Poor

Bethany Centre Food Drive

9 – 13 November

A few extra items in your shopping trolley will go a long way to supporting the locals amongst us doing it tough.

The Diocese of Parramatta is conducting a Food and Toiletry Drive at its Bethany Centre for the World Day of the Poor from 9 to 13 November, and asks the community of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to help by doing some simple shopping.

“In his message for the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis invites us to ‘stretch out our hand to the poor’. A few extra items in your regular shop can make a big difference to those who live on the margins in our Diocese” said Patrice Moriarty, Social Justice Coordinator for the Diocese of Parramatta.

“With JobKeeper and JobSeeker levels decreasing, more and more people are experiencing disadvantage.

People’s generosity is a sign of God’s unending love

“Already, 17 parishes have run food drives for various charities such as Jesuit Refugee Service, House of Welcome and others. Especially amidst the pandemic, people’s generosity is a sign of God’s unending love” she says.

Last year the inaugural ‘Parramatta Street Feast’ organized by the Diocese for the World Day of the Poor, hosted 200 members of the community, who, for various reasons are struggling to make ends meet, sleep rough or don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Due to the pandemic, the event has been cancelled for 2020, but the need is greater than ever.

Simple contributions will make a big difference

From Monday 9 to Friday 13 November 2020, everyone in the Diocese is encouraged to dig deep and bring in some of the following items to the Bethany Centre.

The goods can be dropped off at 470 Church St, Parramatta on the ground floor through or by contacting Marisa VanderHout (02) 8838 3460 or

While they seem basic, these items will go far in supporting local people who are going through difficult times.

Food items:

Meal-based ingredients: baked beans,    chickpeas, four bean mix, gravy

Canned goods: vegetables, fruit, tuna, baked beans, spaghetti

Baby food, formula & nappies (Large sizes)

Pasta & pasta sauces


Biscuits: sweet, savoury, rice cracker, crackers

Breakfast cereals

Long-life milk, cream or custard

Coffee, tea & milo

Sugar, salt, flour, jelly, cake mixes

Drinks (cordials juice)

Household cleaning items

Muesli bars

Jam, honey or vegemite

Dried fruit and roasts nuts

Lightly salted and flavoured popcorn


Sanitary items

Make-up (new)


Shaving cream

Disposable shavers






Toilet paper / tissues


The donations will be going to two amazing charities supporting locals people needing a hand.

Jesuit Social Services, Emerton

Ignite Food Store and Op-Shop is a community enterprise partnership project between Holy Family Parish Emerton and Jesuit Social Services.

It enables people with limited income and support in the Mt Druitt area to access fresh food, perishables and toiletries at a lower cost or through a voucher system. The goal is to fill its shelves for the poor.

St Vincent de Paul Society

Vinnies helps over 400,000 people across NSW and works with thousands within our diocese.

Through their hubs, home visits, Vinnies Van and parish conferences, Vinnies is there for people when they need it, providing emotional and material support.

As Pope Francis said in his message for the 2020 World Day of the Poor:

This year’s theme – “Stretch forth your hand to the poor” – is thus a summons to responsibility and commitment as men and women who are part of our one human family. It encourages us to bear the burdens of the weakest, in accord with the words of Saint Paul: “Through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’… Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 5:13-14; 6:2). The Apostle teaches that the freedom bestowed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes us individually responsible for serving others, especially the weakest. This is not an option, but rather a sign of the authenticity of the faith we profess.

“Stretch forth your hand to the poor” (Sir 7:32).
‘Age-old wisdom has proposed these words as a sacred rule to be followed in life.
Today these words remain as timely as ever. They help us fix our gaze on what is essential and overcome the barriers of indifference.
Poverty always appears in a variety of guises and calls for attention to each particular situation.
In all of these, we have an opportunity to encounter the Lord Jesus,
who has revealed himself as present in those perceived as the least of his brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40).’

Pope Francis, Message for World Day of the Poor, 2020

The Diocese, along with local charities will continue to advocate for more just policies to make poverty in Australia and abroad a thing of the past.

Drop-off of goods will be accepted at The Bethany Centre, 470 Church St, Parramatta, on the Ground Floor through contacting Marisa VanderHout (02 8838 3460 or






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