St. Raphael’s Mission (affectionately known as SRM), is a Sydney-based charity who offer a meal and a conversation to the homeless of Sydney; deliver grocery hampers and provide support to newly-arrived refugees & provide opportunities for the senior citizens & isolated in our community to socialise with each other over free food, games & entertainment. They also offer the opportunity for volunteers to meet people who may change their lives.
Please continue reading to see how SRM helps, and how YOU can also help!
St. Raphael’s Mission (SRM) started off as small seed in 2011 as a St. Nicholas, Punchbowl youth initiative, known as the ‘Welfare Sub-Committee’. The seed took root quickly and this grassroots movement was relocated and formally established as a Mission under the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. The hard work and dedication of the founding members of the charity, by the grace of God, has lead to a more organised and recognised mission.
In more recent years, SRM has expanded it’s services to extend to the elderly and refugees and they hope to continue to grow their services in these areas and across other groups of people that may need assistance.
Over the last five years, word of mouth as well as social media and public fundraising has increased awareness of the Mission and in turn, their volunteer base has grown significantly, as have their regular individual donations base and sponsorship in terms of money, food and resources.
St Raphael was a modern day Saint who died in 1915. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, became a priest and travelled to America on his own to help the isolated, the needy and the lonely. He searched for the isolated and scattered Arab communities, preached the Word of God and established Antiochian Orthodox Churches within these communities.
St Raphael met many people, helped the poor, and was a friend and father to all those he met. He spent his life ensuring that the Arab community did not stray away from their faith and united them all through a magazine called Al Kalimat (The Word), which is still published today.
He became the first Orthodox Christian Bishop to be consecrated in America. He was humble, always put others before himself and had a total lack of concern for himself which was evident through his life works and ministry.
Like, St Raphael, we pray that this Mission unites all Orthodox Churches and the greater community in helping those that are less fortunate than us. We hope that also, like St Raphael, we become a friend to all those we help by showing them the love of God through our words, actions and united fellowship.
Troparion (Tone 3)
Rejoice, O Father Raphael, Adornment of the Holy Church!
Thou art Champion of the true Faith,
Seeker of the lost, Consolation of the oppressed,
Father to orphans, and Friend of the poor,
Peacemaker and Good Shepherd, Joy of all the Orthodox,
Son of Antioch, Boast of America:
Intercede with Christ God for us and for all who honour thee.
St Raphael’s Mission currently feeds 100 to 150 homeless individuals every Monday night in Martin Place. We provide the homeless with a variety of food, fruit, dessert and drinks as well as clothing, sleeping bags and essential everyday items. The Ladies Committee’s from the various parishes help us by providing us with home cooked meals to feed 150 people at least once a month.
Most importantly, we provide an ear to listen to each individual’s stories, allowing a friendship to blossom and a mutual respect between us grow.
SRM throw a Easter Feast & Christmas Party for the homeless every year where there are choir members, hairdressers, a lot more volunteers as well as a lot more food, including seafood, pork, sharwarma & turkey. During these events, SRM provides each homeless individual with a hamper that contains a range of non-pershiable and essential items that are based on the season; that is Easter hampers contain more winter based items & Christmas hampers contain more summer based items.
To the homeless, these hampers, not only mean that they have a helping hand to get through the season but to them, it also represents all the people who have donated money, items or time to make these hampers and the respect and love it shows towards them.
You can see the difference our Mission not only makes to the homeless we feed, but also in the lives of the volunteers. For many, feeding the homeless has brought them back to their faith and Church; for others, it has deepened their spirituality but across all; it has taught us to be thankful to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us and for opening our hearts to do His work and bring glory to His name.
Wondering what a day in the life of a SRM Volunteer looks like? Watch the video below:
Seniors Day Out
SRM hold ‘Elderly Day Outs’ every 3 months for those in our community that are lonely or widowed. These are free events and include:
Games e.g. bingo, musical chairs etc.
SRM currently make hampers for newly arrived refugee families (up to 1 year in Australia) every month. We provide each family with a hamper containing either:
Essential grocery items
Back to school items, games for kids etc.
We would like to thank our regular sponsors:
C 8 C Chicken
The Ladies’ Auxiliary Committees of the following Antiochian Orthodox Parishes: