Volunteers out and about for collection

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Around 200 volunteers will be out and about in Portadown over the coming days for the annual Christian Aid house-to-house collection.

Christian Aid Week is the biggest event in the local committee calendar and this year it has extra resonance as the charity celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Christian Aid was set up originally to help the people of Europe after the Second Word War. Once Europe was back on its feet, the charity’s focus switched to overseas where it provides aid for disasters and development.

Money collected during Christian Aid Week, from May 10-16, will go toward the current relief efforts in Nepal and Syria, as well as development work in Haiti and Africa.

The theme of this year’s week is empowerment of women and the stories of two Ethiopian women, Loko and Adi, illustrate how a single cow can make a huge difference to their lives.

Four times a week, Loko makes a backbreaking, eight-hour trip to gather wood. She risks being attacked by hyenas but has to do it because she needs money to feed her children.

Just two years ago, Adi was in the same position. But Christian Aid provided a cow which gives her family nutritious milk and enables her to make butter which she sells. She has even saved enough money to build a small shop.

The local committee, which is made up of representatives from most of the churches in Portadown, also raises money from its monthly lunches, held in Armagh Road Presbyterian Church Hall.

Local organiser Moyra Stirling is hopeful that the amount raised during the coming Christian Aid week will match or even better the £10,000 plus raised last year.

As a thank-you to local people, and to mark the end of the week, the PM Big Band will be playing some of their popular ‘swing’ numbers on Saturday, May 16, at the front of St Mark’s Church.