The British Jesuits have launched an urgent appeal for Zimbabwe, following a request from the country's recently appointed Provincial. In a letter to all Jesuit parishes, schools and communities, the Director of JM (Jesuit Missions), Father Tim Curtis SJ, says they urgently need to raise £180,000 by the end of December.
In his letter, Fr Curtis explains that the Zimbabwean Provincial, Fr Stephen Buckland SJ, is trying to get two shipments of food to Zimbabwe before Christmas. "We have managed to secure enough money for the first shipment (valued at £180,000), and this will be leaving shortly. We are now trying to gather funds together for the second shipment," he wrote.
JM has already made a substantial contribution, and the British Provincial, Fr Michael Holman SJ, has pledged some money from the Province to form the basis of a Jesuit Relief Fund for Zimbabwe, to be administered at Jesuit Missions. Jesuit parish priests are being urged to hold a second or retiring collection or some other fund raising activity directed towards this project. Jesuit schools in this country, which already have strong links with counterparts overseas, including Zimbabwe, are also being asked to find ways of helping to raise the extra cash needed for the shipment.
"While the protracted political negotiations continue, most ordinary Zimbabweans are starving," explains Fr Curtis. "Their currency is worthless and their salary does not even pay their bus fare to get to work. That's why Fr Buckland has made it an urgent priority to bring some relief to these people. Since taking over as Provincial earlier this year, he has been assessing the situation and working out what contribution the Jesuits in Zimbabwe can make to the country and its people. The Jesuit Relief Fund has been bringing in shipments of food and distributing it to the poorest of the poor for some time. Building on a successful track record Fr Buckland is trying to bring in two consignments of food by the end of the year."
Anyone wishing to donate to this appeal can do so on-line: www.justgiving.com/zimbabwefund or cheques can be sent to Jesuit Missions, 11 Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London SW19 4LR.
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