According to the Bible, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was a day of great rejoicing – in Heaven, with the angels, and on earth, with humble agricultural workers.
But in poverty-stricken Munsieville, for tens of thousands, Christmas is a day to dread – a day when many friends have returned to their ancestral homes and when all the services they depend upon, are closed. It’s a day of hunger, loneliness and fear.
That is why Root and Branch Change, with its partners and friends had to make Christmas 2022 different, to focus the minds of children and families on joy, to celebrate Jesus Christ and the hope he offers to all, and to make this day, the most joyous in the township’s 100 year history.
Hosted at the TloTlo Children's Sports Arena in Munsiville, over a thousand people, including 750 children, spent the day in the sun, experiencing an explosion of fun, energy and joy. Breakfast was served to the early birds, and a delicious lunch for everyone - more than 1,200 meals - and 750 children's gifts were given out by Santa and his helpers.
Children in vulnerable townships are often regarded as a "burden" upon the family, especially when they are living with extended family members who have taken them in following family breakdown or bereavement. So, on this most special of days, over 500 family food hampers were given to children to take home as a blessing for their family, meaning that an estimated 2,500 people received a delicious meal that day, in addition to the 1,000 in the venue.
The Pastor of one Munsieville church said, "Munsieville has never seen anything like this. All of a sudden, Christmas has become good news in this township, replacing the shadow of fear with the light of Jesus!"