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Every year at Commons we commit ourselves to taking the generosity that is inspired by the Christmas story and pointing it at this those less fortunate than ourselves. This year our goal is raise $50,000 to help our local and global partners, who work year round to bring healing and hope to the world.

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In Kensington we are investing in Aurora on the Park where your generosity enables a First Nations Elder to regularly meet with and support the tenants of the accessible housing complex. Through Highbanks Society we are helping to provide stable housing to young moms. We are assisting Made by Momma to provide wholesome nourishment to mothers and young children facing adversity. And we providing the resources for the Fresh Food Basket at Hillhurst Community Association to meet the needs of families through the Christmas and New Year's period where the program is stretched to capacity. All of these organizations do incredible work right here in our Kensington neighbourhood particularly in an economic season where many of our neighbours are silently struggling.

In Inglewood we are providing new resources to Carya and the YWCA who are working to support families in the neighbourhood, particularly women exposed to Domestic Violence and Elders suffering from abuse or isolation and depression.

Together, we are launching an expanded partnership with Louise Dean School across the street from our Kensington Parish. This school works to ensure that young mothers are able to complete their high school education and we have embarked on a new four year agreement to provide resources to their hot meals program, to provide pharmacy gift cards for mothers facing financial constraints and to launch a new Scholarship will take a graduating student through four years of post-secondary education. Half of this project has already been donated and our Advent Campaign will raise the necessary funds to match over the next four years.

In addition, our Advent Campaign provides the resources that care for those in and through the community that need help each year. This takes the form of intervention when housing is at risk. Grocery and food security for families and individuals needing support. Along with financial counselling and crisis support when necessary.

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Refugee resettlement has become a significant part of our investment in peace over the past four years. We have received two refugee families from Syria and stepped into provide relational support to several other refugee families in the city. This Advent we have our first refugee family arriving from Sudan. We will be helping this mother and children start a new life in Calgary after suffering incredible loss. Funds raised will help us continue to ensure that the most vulnerable will find healing and peace among us in Canada.

As well, we continue to work with our long time global partners. Through Hands at Work we support ongoing community development efforts in Kalende, Zambia. This year we plan to expand our support to care for 125 orphans and vulnerable children in Kalende all through the local community based organization guided by Hands at Work. Alongside Internal Justice Mission we support a field office in Thailand that works to provide citizenship papers to hill tribes peoples helping ensure they are protected from the sex trade industry.

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In each of these ways, across the world and here with those we sit across from at coffee shops, when we extend our grace beyond our immediate circle and toward those in need, we reflect the story of Jesus and the generosity he invites us to receive. Your gift means the world to someone.

All gifts given the Advent Campaign will be earmarked for these projects. May you have a blessed Advent as you wait for the Christ child to appear.