December 14, 2019

When Jackie Morris was sitting at Kicco Glenelg one morning post-workout for her…

When Jackie Morris was sitting at Kicco Glenelg one morning post-workout for her usual coffee with friends, she had a light bulb moment.

Jackie, who has been a member at The Gym Glenelg for about three years, had just finished her Active Adults class with Rod and was taking a sip when she realised how much she spends on coffee each month. It was about $48.

She had been thinking about sponsoring a child for a little while. Close to 130 members of her church, City Light in Glenelg, were already sponsoring children living in poverty through a global charity called Compassion Australia.

Each month, they would contribute $48 – the same amount Jackie would spend on coffee every four weeks – to the organisation to help fund education opportunities, healthcare services, food for families, clothing and other essential services.

It didn’t take long for Jackie to register as a donor and before she knew it, she was sponsoring a seven-year-old girl in the Philippines named Elvie.

“Elvie has a father, but her mother passed away about a year ago,” Jackie said. “Her grandmother is also living with them. Together, they are raising six children.

“Their house is about as big as The Gym Glenelg reception area – there are no beds, the kids sleep on the floor and there is no kitchen. The toilet is a hole in the ground alongside the house. When it rains, there is mud everywhere, there’s no shelter.

“And the father only works part-time. He is a welder who is on call so they have no money, he doesn’t make a lot.”

Compassion Australia is a Christian charity that sponsors children and families living in third world countries. It was launched after the Korean War when the number of children living in poverty increased dramatically.

Jackie flew to the Philippines in July to visit her adopted family. What she saw changed her entire perspective on life.

“Sometimes you feel so hard done by, that you don’t have this or that,” she said.

“But when I saw what they live with, I thought I lived in a mansion. I took $200 in spending money and I just couldn’t buy stupid little knick-knacks to bring home when these people were starving, so I gave them $100.

“When I met Elvie for the first time, she wouldn’t stop hugging and kissing me. She was so happy. She kept calling me Mum. She is so cute.”

During her trip, Jackie also met five adults who had been sponsored by Compassion Australia when they were children. Each of them had obtained a qualification from university and were in stable full-time jobs that paid well.

“Sponsorships give these people hope that they can get out of poverty and have an extraordinary life,” Jackie said. “We also write letters to our children, encouraging them to do all the things they one day hope they will achieve.”

If you would like to sponsor a child, visit

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