Ararat's good Samaritans

Ararat - After being appointed Ararat and district church and community officer for Samaritan's Purse last year, Lynne Hall-Cavanagh had the opportunity to travel overseas to participate in many aid projects undertaken by the worldwide, nondenominational organisation, Samaritan's Purse.

Lynne and John Cavanagh joined two other Victorians and nine more volunteers in a team which spent 10 busy days in Cambodia last month.

Many will be familiar with Operation Christmas Child (shoe boxes filled with gifts for distribution to children aged two to 15 in many countries) and for many years Lynne has donated boxes to this project and John has often driven loads of boxes from Ararat to collection centres.

Ararat now has a collection centre, which is at the home of local couple Ev and Cliff Pickens, where tomorrow the local team will conduct a garage sale to raise funds to be used to further the work of Samaritan's Purse.

This Sunday, Lynne and Ev will host an afternoon at the Ararat Church of Christ to tell of the vital work being done by many volunteers across the world and to thank local people who continue to support these projects.

Samaritan's Purse team members from Horsham and Lara will also attend this weekend.

Lynne and John will tell a little about the projects they participated in while they worked with the Cambodian team.

The highlight for Lynne was distributing boxes to hundreds of children and feeling their delight to receive such a gift, however, boxes of love are just the start of the work. More boxes are needed as not every child gets a box despite the thousands already being distributed each year.

These are packed by individuals, families, schools and organisations, so Ararat people are asked to consider offering some help to provide these.

Once Samaritan's Purse begins to work in an area, they work with the local leaders and often partner with other aid organisations to ascertain the needs and provide the aid required to supply safe water, schools, bicycles, hospitals, farming needs and opportunities for the locals to grow into self-reliant communities.

These and other projects filled the trip to Cambodia and included time mixing cement to pour Bio Sand water filters for families, visiting school communities in very dismal conditions and speaking with children who now proudly ride their Samaritan's Purse supplied bicycle long distances in all weather to attend school.

The children and their families value education and all other help they are given.

Lynne and John have returned with added enthusiasm to increase Ararat's local aid to many projects.

Supplying a child with a chicken has a huge impact on the children and family. The child is able to care for a chicken and attend school (rather than earn money in other ways to help support their family).

Lynne has commenced a project and is encouraging people to save their five cent coins in a water bottle to raise money to supply Bio Sand filters to families. She is calling this program, 'Give me Five' and has many other ideas developing.

Any person or organisation who would like to learn more or offer help can contact Lynne on 5352 2954.

Lynne and Ev are inviting representatives of any group to join them in co-ordinating an Ararat effort each year.

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