Tecoma Uniting Church was the venue for a major Federal Government announcement regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told a large gathering of predominantly international and local community organisations that the government would match all monies raised, dollar-for-dollar, for the famine until November 30.
Standing in the hall of the Tecoma Uniting Church in the foothills of the Dandenongs, Minister Rudd acknowledged the Uniting Churchâ€™s long term commitment to social justice, going back to John Wesley.
â€œIâ€™m proud of the Uniting Church and what it does locally, nationally, and with partners overseas,â€ Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd spoke passionately of the devastation being wrought in the Horn of Africa, where more than 13 million people are now in serious need of food aid. Of that nearly 750,000 children and lactating mothers are suffering acute malnutrition and are reliant on a quick response from the wider world.
He said Australia has been providing support since the World Food Program first alerted the international community of an impending drought 12 months ago.
The Minister praised the role of NGOs (non-government organisations) for their ability to make a fundamental difference in the lives of communities. He described the dollar-for-dollar initiative as a partnership between government and NGOs, likening it to a secular miracle of the loaves and fishes story of the Bible, which â€˜goes to the heart of what aid agencies are aboutâ€™.
Rev Dr Kerry Enright, national director of Uniting World, was present at the announcement and welcomed the opportunity to double the impact of donorsâ€™ giving.
To support, UnitingWorldâ€™s Horn of Africa Crisis Appeal visit SHARE Community Appeal or call 1800 668 426.