Compassion Australia CEO Clare Steele reflects on the highlights of releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name in financial year 2020 and the impact supporters like you have had.

This year for me personally was always going to be different and full of change. A new role as Compassion Australia CEO, a new home in a new city, new people and experiences.

I did not anticipate that 2020 would be so different for all of us, right across the world.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged us into new ways of working, interacting, shopping and studying. New ways of living.

And the new of 2020 has not spared the children we serve. Their lives have been radically altered by COVID-19 and the response to the virus.

For families like 14-year-old Alvin’s in the Philippines, quarantine measures hit hard. Businesses closed across the country, including the junk shop where his mother worked to earn a daily wage. Alvin was desperate to help—but he didn’t know what to do.

“I thought of looking for work or begging in the streets for money, but quarantine meant I couldn’t do either,” he says.

Just in time, the staff of his local Compassion centre arrived with a relief bag of rice, noodles, milk, vegetables, canned goods and other essentials.

“I don’t need to beg because I know God will supply for my family through the church and my sponsor,” says Alvin.

His story is a timely reminder of the importance of what we do in a Compassion neighbourhood that stretches around the world. There have been hundreds of stories of great struggle like his—but also stories of great generosity and impact as churches reach out to meet the most urgent needs and support children and families in new ways.

That’s why I’m so pleased to report that Australians and the worldwide Church have responded with such generosity to our first ever global disaster relief campaign.

In fincancial year 2020, local church partners delivered more than 3.9 million food packs, over 2.5 million hygiene kits, and reached more than 170,000 children and family members with medical support.

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As extreme poverty increases for the first time in many years, these interventions are essential in supporting vulnerable children and their families. And now, more than 124,000 children are sponsored and have the support they need to thrive, thanks to generous Australians like you.

As we travel the new together, I’m so encouraged by your words of support, your generosity and your great desire to continue to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Thank you!

And in a year of great uncertainty, I am thankful and full of praise that we can rest on the unfailing love and mercy of our God, who has compassion for those in need and longs for justice.