Church donates Christmas food baskets

SYDNEY, Australia — During a ceremony to illuminate a myriad of Christmas lights on the temple grounds here Dec. 5, New South Wales Gov. Gordon Samuels presented 2,000 Christmas food baskets to the Salvation Army on behalf of the Church.

The baskets, valued at $60,000 (Australian dollars), were paid for with revenues from the Church's agricultural property in the country and will be given to needy families throughout New South Wales. The Church also received support from major Australian food corporations, as well as from the community and Church members, in the making up of the food baskets.

During the ceremony, attended by several local dignitaries, Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy, and first counselor in the Australia/New Zealand Area Presidency, presented Gov. Samuels with a copy of the book, "The Mission."

The master of ceremonies for the evening was media personality and travel writer, Glenn A. Baker. A local news presenter, Ron Wilson, officially switched on the Christmas lights during the ceremony.

Other dignitaries attending included local state members of Parliament, Wayne Merton, Bruce MacCarthy, Michael Photios, Michael Richardson, Andrew Tink and Franca Arena; local federal members of the House of Representatives, Ross Cameron; and Australian Family Association head, Susan Bastick.

The Salvation Army band, together with the Australian Latter-day Saint choir, performed selections from Handel's Messiah and other traditional Christmas carols.

The light display, which is called the Festival of Christmas Lights, attracts thousands of people from across Sydney annually.

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