The East Gippsland town of Orbost may only have a population of 2000 people but that did not stop the congregation at St Andrew’s Uniting Church from filling their church hall with visitors at a recent fundraising dinner.
More than 140 people attended the Sudanese Famine Dinner on 6 May, including 20 Sudanese visitors from Melbourne.
A famine is currently ravaging South Sudan with nearly five million people – 40 per cent of the country’s population – in urgent need of food.
Janette Osborne, an elder at St Andrew’s Orbost, coordinated the dinner and said the congregation was delighted with the turnout.
“The hall was decorated in African fabrics, basketware and jewellery kindly loaned for the night by Orbost Rotarians, Lorraine and Peter Van den Oever, who lived in Africa for some years,” Ms Osborne said.
“These handcrafts set the atmosphere as well as our Sudanese visitors wearing their traditional colourful dress.”
The guests enjoyed a two-course meal which included beef kebabs, couscous, vegetable curry and African citrus milk tart. The money raised from the night supported the Containers of Hope project, which sends clothes, food, stationary, computers and wheelchairs to those in need in South Sudan.
The Orbost church council learnt about Containers of Hope from their minister Rev Nathaniel Atem, who was a refugee from South Sudan. Mr Atem’s colleague, Rev Amel Manyon from the Northern Suburbs Uniting Church in Adelaide, initiated Containers of Hope to assist displaced refugees in South Sudan.
“The proceeds from the dinner, and the very generous donations from people who could not attend on the night, meant St Andrew’s Orbost will contribute approximately $3500 to this worthy cause,” Ms Osborne said.
“We are very thankful for the support we received and trust this small contribution will go to help the devastation in South Sudan.”