Is there a positive future for our children

By PATRIZIA REIMER news@northernstar.com.au

HE IS an advocate against human suffering, so a visit to the Northern Rivers by the Reverend Tim Costello will bring much-needed attention to the poor and destitute in our shires.

Long-time volunteer at the Lismore Soup Kitchen Mieke Bell hoped Mr Costello's presence would help raise muchneeded funds.

"He has been the patron of the soup kitchen for about 10 years and said that whenever he was up this way he'd be happy to do a fundraiser for us," she said.

"We don't get any government funding, we've never sought it. We rely on donations from the community and we probably have three or four organisations that donate on a fairly regular basis."

A budget from several years ago showed the service needed $30,000 a year, but it would cost a lot more now.

The soup kitchen dishes out 40 to 60 hot lunches a day, and 20 to 30 breakfasts four times a week, on a budget of $70 a day.

"Some of the volunteers have been cooking for over 10 years, they're the people that keep the place going," Mieke said.

Mr Costello is speaking tonight at a sold-out gala dinner in support of Sanctuary Northern Rivers Inc, which campaigns for the settlement of refugees in our community.

He is also participating in a forum at the Northern Rivers Baptist Association Conference at Alstonville, and speak at Sunday's morning service. To participate in the forum call 6628 5387.

On Monday night, Mr Costello will ask the question, 'Is there a positive future for our children?', at a homelessness fundraiser at the Ballina Turf Club. Money raised will go to Centacare in Ballina and the Lismore Soup Kitchen. To book call Natalie on 6628 7218.



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