Last December, nine-year-old Leila asked her parents if she could do something to help those struggling with financial difficulty during the Christmas season.
With the support of her parents, Leila set about making shortbread stars and plate-sized rounds. These baked goods were sold at morning coffee after the church service.
As a result of her fundraising efforts, the congregation raised $350 for Uniting Ballarat.
Buninyong Uniting Church minister Rev Keith Kynoch praised Leila for her efforts and believes it could be the catalyst for something grander.
“I wonder if Leila has just started something that might grow beyond her hopes,” Mr Kynoch said.
“If one child from each congregation was to catch this vision, I wonder what the impact could be in 60 years.”
Mr Kynoch drew parallels with the story of the Christmas Bowl, which began at a dinner table on Christmas Day more than 60 years ago. It has since grown into a national fundraising appeal, raising more than $2.5 million every year.
“On Christmas Day 1949 the Rev Frank Byatt of Victoria placed an empty bowl on the dinner table and asked his guests to give a gift to bring relief and hope to refugees who had fled the horrors of World War II,” Mr Kynoch said.
“He could never have known that his simple act would grow into the incredible outpouring of love and compassion it’s become today.
“As Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody wrote in 1991 – From Little Things Big Things Grow. Well done Leila!”