Chappy turns back the clock to bring hope during covid

The days of writing and receiving letters via the post hold fond memories for many, but for our young generation the practice is quite a novelty. When lockdowns and…

The days of writing and receiving letters via the post hold fond memories for many, but for our young generation the practice is quite a novelty.

When lockdowns and learning from home became the norm earlier in the year, Chappy Sam in Rockhampton thought this would be the perfect time to resurrect this practice and show personalised care to the families in her community.

Through your support, chappies like Sam have been supporting communities in need right through the uncertainty of COVID-19. Thank you!

Chappy Sam teamed up with the school’s Guidance Officer Mel, to send well-being packs to students and their families.

“We’ve had a lot of disasters in our region over the past couple of years – floods, fires, you name it. In the middle of times of stress and trauma, it’s important to remind people there’s help available and there’s people you can turn to,” says Chappy Sam.

“Mel and I wanted to do something that would bring a smile to the kids’ faces. The packs we sent out had a letter to the parents, a recipe, some online dance activities, a mental health guide, some breathing techniques and a postcard for the kids with stickers and a balloon.”

“I sent about 500 packs between my two schools – it took about a week to put it all together! We had a lot of positive feedback from teachers and parents, saying they felt really cared for, which was awesome to hear.”

Mum of three, Kathryn, says she was so grateful to have her school chappy.

“Our family has had a really rough year and without the help from Chappy Sam I don’t think we would have made it through. My kids rave about Chappy – she makes each one of them feel special,” says Kathryn.

Kathryn’s middle daughter, Izzabella, says she was excited to receive the care package because it took her mind off what was happening in the world around her.

School chaplaincy is about modelling the love and compassion of Jesus by helping those in need, and connecting people to community.

When familiar things are taken away and our young people are feeling out of place, it’s important to remind them they are not alone.

Thanks to your continuous support, chaplains like Sam are looking out for our young people.

To help others receive the unconditional support of a school chaplain, head to suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 16/11/2020

Your support is crossing borders for families like Kim’s

Christmas is a special time of year, full of celebrations, food and family. But for Kim and her grandsons, last Christmas was when their world turned upside down. “The…

Christmas is a special time of year, full of celebrations, food and family. But for Kim and her grandsons, last Christmas was when their world turned upside down.

“The house we’d lived in for eight years was sold underneath us, all of our furniture had to be put in storage and we were technically homeless,” says Kim.

At the same time, Kim’s dad was battling terminal kidney cancer in New South Wales.

“We moved to be nearer to him but this meant the boys had to leave the school they’d been at their whole school lives.

“At the time, nobody knew what was going on. Furniture removalists showed up and the kids were asking, ‘Nan, what’s happening?’ It was just awful,” recalls Kim. 

Even though Kim and her grandsons were going through some massive life hurdles, thanks to you, there was a glimmer of hope just ahead.

A few months before, Chappy Julie nominated this precious family to receive a Christmas hamper as part of an initiative that St Andrews Hospital was running. There was just one problem. By the time Chappy found out that Kim’s family had been selected, they’d already moved to Wollongong. 

Undeterred, Chappy Julie knew she had to find a way to get these gifts to the family. A road trip with a teacher turned out to be the solution.

“We arranged to meet halfway in Port Macquarie. We stayed overnight, and in the morning handed out the gifts along with some extra cash and a card from the workers at St Andrews – it was really beautiful,” says Chappy Julie.

“Kim is the sort of person who does everything for everyone. She’d never ask for anything, so being able to be there for her and the boys was really special.”

It’s because of you that Chappy Julie was in place to drive nearly 10 hours to share the Christmas spirit with Kim and her grandsons. Thank you!

For Kim, this gesture of kindness went above and beyond her expectations of the role of a chappy. 

“I know it’s a job, but Chappy Julie goes above that. Even when I was doing it really tough in NSW, she’d call to check in and ask after the kids.”

“There just aren’t any words to describe it. Even now, a year later, I still can’t believe it. What Chappy and the team did for us brought a bit of human faith back,” says Kim.

24 hours before the borders closed in late March, Kim and her grandsons made it back up north, and are now happily settled into their school community once again. Chappy Julie, of course, is thrilled to have them back!

“I’m always saying chappies aren’t just there for the young people – we’re about whole families,” says Chappy Julie.

Thanks to kind-hearted supporters like you, families like Kim’s have someone looking out for them when times are tough. Please keep this vital work going. Visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 28/10/2020

Something special in Murgon

Your support for school chaplaincy means hundreds of school communities across Queensland can access vital social, emotional and spiritual support.  For Brendan, a teacher in Chappy Deb’s regional school…

Your support for school chaplaincy means hundreds of school communities across Queensland can access vital social, emotional and spiritual support. 

For Brendan, a teacher in Chappy Deb’s regional school community of Murgon, this spiritual support came in quite an unexpected way.

Brendan had been experiencing severe leg pain for some time, and had been advised he’d likely require surgery for it. When Chappy Deb saw him walking to his car on the way to a doctor’s appointment one day, she felt a prompting to ask if she could pray for him.

He agreed. Chappy Deb then knelt in the gravel and said a simple prayer. She was filled with joy by what happened next. 

“It was not until after the MRI that I started thinking that my knee didn’t appear to be giving me as much grief. Throughout the weekend, I forgot I had any problems with my knee, and when I returned to school the following Monday I was no longer limping or in need of a walking stick,” says Brendan.

“Many teachers asked where my walking stick had gone – and when I told them about my knee being prayed for, many gave a look of disbelief.”

When Brendan saw his knee specialist a few months later, he was told he didn’t need an operation after all.

“When I told the specialist that the chaplain had prayed over my knee, he was genuinely surprised,” says Brendan.

Thanks to your generous support, students, families and even school staff have a caring, non-judgemental and supportive person in their schools – and Brendan is very thankful for that.

“I believe it is vitally important that we have chaplains in our school. Both staff and students benefit greatly from having a person who is in a pastoral and well-being role,” says Brendan.

“Chappy Deb is a caring and supportive person in the school, often doing unnoticed acts of kindness to support our staff and students.”

 

Thanks to your support, hundreds of school communities across Queensland can access vital social, emotional and spiritual support. 

 

Chappy Deb is passionate about her work as a chaplain, and is deeply aware of its spiritual side.

“Chaplains offer something unique to school communities through spiritual support. One thing I love doing is committing each day to God, and I find that always helps lead and guide me through the tough situations,” says Chappy Deb.

“I was gobsmacked when Brendan came up and told me his specialist was going to hold off on the surgery. That was so encouraging!”

You can help ensure our school communities continue to be blessed socially, emotionally and spiritually through school chaplaincy. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

 

Posted: 26/10/2020

SU QLD’s new partnership with Coffee Roasters Collective

Coffee Roasters Collective, a Brisbane-based coffee roastery founded in 1999, has been contributing to the coffee culture explosion across Australia for the last two decades. Through a new partnership…

Coffee Roasters Collective, a Brisbane-based coffee roastery founded in 1999, has been contributing to the coffee culture explosion across Australia for the last two decades.

Through a new partnership with SU QLD, the group is now looking to make a positive difference in the lives of young people in communities across Queensland. 

Click here to learn more about this exciting new partnership

Founder, Rob Mergard, has a heart for the next generation, which is why he’s helping in the best way he knows how – combining his passion for helping those in need with his passion for sharing great coffee.

“When I look at the work of SU, which I’ve seen firsthand through my daughter’s involvement with local chappies, it’s something I wanted to get behind,” says Rob.

And Rob’s doing just that. It took four years for this dream to become a reality, but for every 1kg bag of coffee, which is being sold under the Dancing Bean label, 100% of retail margins will go straight to SU QLD.

Customers enjoying their local coffee shop in Ipswich

“The coffee beans will be available to purchase through our retail networks, and we can ship them Australia wide. The label on the bag of coffee will let everyone know that each bag is going towards a good cause,” says Rob.

Every purchase supports the work of SU QLD.

Due to their expertise and dedication to quality products, Coffee Roasters Collective are the perfect partner for this initiative.

“We relocated to Ipswich about 5 years ago, and work out of a heritage building which has been modernised – it’s any coffee roasters dream,” says Rob.

“Our company started 21 years ago under the Dancing Bean brand, and we have been roasting coffee for about 16 years. Our company actually put the first legal coffee cart in Brisbane. We started our customer base by opening coffee carts and small espresso bars, and worked our way up to where we are.”

Behind-the-scenes shots of the roastery

SU QLD Fundraising Manager, Jon Thorne, shares a bit behind this exciting new initiative.

“It has been such a blessing to work with Rob on this. He’s got a great heart for our young people and he makes great coffee. We’re really excited to see the impact that this partnership can have on the ground, where the needs are still very real right across Queensland,” says Jon.

“Coffee is everywhere nowadays, and partnering with Rob means something we do every day now has a bit more purpose by bringing hope to more children and young people.”

 

Click here to purchase your premium quality coffee beans, while making a donation to the work of Scripture Union Queensland!

 

Rob Mergard is the cafe pioneer behind the Coffee Roasters Collective. Rob started life as an engineer – and it was his problem solving mindset and technical flair that saw him redesign coffee roasting in Queensland. Since his humble beginnings in a small cafe set-up, Rob has surrounded himself with coffee experts, master roasters, machinery gurus, specialist baristas and marketing icons who have all helped create, shape and enhance the individual products, services and brands that the Coffee Roasters Collective now takes to market.

Posted: 13/08/2020

High tea fundraiser blooms in the drought

Chaplaincy fundraisers are as diverse as the regions our chappies serve in. For the Local Chaplaincy Committee in Clermont, in Central Queensland, they’ve taken fundraising to a whole new…

Chaplaincy fundraisers are as diverse as the regions our chappies serve in. For the Local Chaplaincy Committee in Clermont, in Central Queensland, they’ve taken fundraising to a whole new level of classiness – high tea style.

More than just tea, the 120 women who attended the event late last year were treated to a three-course spread which included finger sandwiches, delicate desserts, fruit galore and some delicious cheese platters.

But beyond the pretty window dressing of this elegant affair, these 120 big-hearted guests gathered together for a much greater cause than raising one’s pinky-finger while drinking from a cup – they were there to raise awareness and funds to promote positive mental health in the local primary and high schools.

In a revamped hall, with elongated tables decorated with teacups, saucers and roses, the women enjoyed a fashion parade showcasing clothes from local stores, and listened to an inspirational guest speaker talk about normalising vulnerable conversations in every-day life.

Helen Farrell has been a school chaplain for seven years, and says she has watched the conversation around mental health in Clermont shift in recent years.

“Our women especially, are concerned about mental health because we have the mines close by and their husbands are away working while the drought is still continuing. Being out in the bush also means you have to drive four hours to the closest facility, which is difficult,” says Chappy Helen.

“I think society is beginning to understand that children are affected by trauma and recognising that it’s really important. If you ask any chaplain, they’ll say mental health and resilience in kids are two of the biggest issues, because of the way our society is with fragmented families and hardship.”

Thanks to the generosity of the attendees, the Clermont Local Chaplaincy Committee (LCC) were able to raise $3,502.64, which will be used to run positive mental health programs.

LCC Chair Bec Allen-Ankins, together with the committee, worked tirelessly to ensure that the fundraiser was a success, and is excited to see their town embrace mental health programs through the funding.

“Mental health is a massive issue in this area, and I too have a personal connection with these struggles. Looking at our schools, mental health structured programs is what we’re lacking – the kind where kids are guided through regular learning and discussion sessions as a group, and are supported with books and resources to aid learning and implementation,” says Bec.

“I’m confident these programs will make a big difference in our schools, and that’s all thanks to the money raised from our generous women and local businesses.”

It’s true that events like this don’t happen without careful planning, and Bec was kind enough to share some of her pearls of wisdom.

Bec’s Top Five Tips to running a Successful Event:

1. Connection, connection, connection – remember events are all about people! The effort you put into building relationships with both your sponsors and your community will make a big difference to how the event goes.
2. Plan as far in advance as you can – Get the big details confirmed early (dates, venues etc.) and it will save you from many unnecessary stressful moments down the track.
3. Get small jobs done as early as you can – Remember that small things add up and take up more time than you’d expect.
4. Delegate to the right people for the job – People with the right skills will do it twice as fast, and probably to a better standard, so it’s important to know everyone’s strengths and allow them to work in that area.
5. Don’t be afraid to create awareness – I know social media can seem daunting, but get creative and run competitions to get people talking about your event. You can afford to give away a few free tickets if it means you have 100 people liking and sharing your event.

Posted: 11/08/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Ross + Chappy Mark bring food to those struggling on the Gemfields

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a…

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a real need, and we were able to do something about it.”

When chappies Ross and Mark heard about the food shortages going on in their communities at Emerald and Anakie, they wanted to help. 

“People were travelling an hour or more to get into town, just to find that they couldn’t get what they needed because stock was so low,” says Chappy Mark. 

To help ease the burden, Chappy Mark and a teacher came up with the idea of bridging the gap for those living out on the Gemfields, by hand-delivering items from town. Chappy Ross was only too keen to join in. 

“We approached the stores in town with $500 and some vouchers from local businesses. We asked if they’d remove the limits so we could take product out to the gem fields and they agreed,” Chappy Ross says.

The local Woolies and IGA chipped in with cartons of apples, oranges, bananas and pears, while Coles stepped up by donating bread and some of the local ladies helped out with grocery bags. 

Click here to see a video of the supplies!

“We took a ute – which was piled three crates high with a variety of groceries – out to the gem fields every Wednesday for four weeks. It was incredible,” says Chappy Ross.

“Out in the fields, people were so grateful. There are lonely people out there and we were given the opportunity to give back on multiple levels. Mark and I would pray together in the car on the way up, because we knew it was going to be heavy.”

Chappy Mark and Chappy Ross prepare to head up to the Gemfields

In smaller communities, Chappy Ross explains that the school is often central to the community, and this means a school chaplain is often considered the chaplain for the community.

“I did some house calls with the principal – and the families were really excited to see us. Showing up with a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk was a simple way to show these families that you’re there for them.”

“I found that a lot of the families had been having the same conversation over and over again, so these visits were a way to share new perspectives.”

“I’ve been a chappy for the last thirteen years, and I’ve watched the community grow over the years. Someone once said to me, “You can count the number of seeds in an orange, but you can’t count the oranges in one seed.” I think that analogy relates to what we do as chaplains. You never know what one kind word can do for somebody – you never know how big that tree might grow.”

It’s because of you that school chaplains can bring hope and encouragement to their communities.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Deb is there through thick and thin

Every day school chaplains walk into environments full of young people dealing with serious and wide-ranging issues. From anxiety to domestic violence, mental health and even suicide, Chappy Deb…

Every day school chaplains walk into environments full of young people dealing with serious and wide-ranging issues. From anxiety to domestic violence, mental health and even suicide, Chappy Deb has been instrumental in supporting her school’s young people and their families. 

Through your big-hearted support, you too are meeting the needs of our children and young people in crisis.

“We have had 5-6 suicides in our community over the last few months – which has had flow-on effects to our community here at school. There’s a lot of training that we rely on as chaplains to help support in these situations, but equally as important is showing our young people that you actually care,” says Chappy Deb.

You make it possible for our chaplains to show up every day dedicated and determined to bring hope and a brighter future to our young people. Thank you.

“We use health and social care resources, we check in on students and encourage them to keep learning. Most important of all we take notice. That’s been important in COVID-19 – I’ve learnt so much about the power of taking notice,” says Chappy Deb.

“Our training helps us understand how to mentally take note of our conversations, and then we can refer to external services when needed. Chaplains also offer something unique to school communities through spiritual support, which is incredibly important for well being.”

“There was this one time at school, where I was talking with a group of students about what I do, and this quite angry girl spoke up and she said, “Miss, you pick up our hearts.” I thought that was pretty beautiful.”

Throughout this COVID-19 season, Chappy Deb has also been doing the usual rounds, checking in with students, staff and parents.

“Because of the changes with COVID-19, we can’t run our usual food programs. We usually run 7 food programs a week – breakfast 4 days, and lunch 3 days,” says Chappy Deb.

“We recently got donations back from Foodbank and have been able to provide milk, bananas, weetbix and juice. I’ve been making up sandwiches and wrapping them for hungry kids – it’s not a lot, but it’s about working with what’s already in the school.”

“Even though it’s hard, it’s exciting as well. I jump out of bed in the morning – always eager to see what God is going to do next.”

Chaplains may not outwardly wear capes, but they are certainly heroes in our communities. They never give up and they never stop sharing hope and love to those who need it the most.

Teacher Brendan is grateful for friends like you who are making a difference in schools through your support for school chaplaincy – particularly in times of stress and change.

“I believe it is vitally important that we have chaplains in our school. Both staff and students benefit greatly from having a person who is in a pastoral and well being role,” says Brendan.

“Chappy Deb is a caring and supportive person in the school, often doing unnoticed acts of kindness to support our staff and students. She provides non-judgmental support and from a teacher’s perspective, I feel like I can chat to Chappy Deb about matters of faith and other personal issues.”

It’s because of you that Chappies like Deb can bring encouragement and support to their communities. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Over 240 cars are blessed by a school supply drive-through

In this new season, children and young people across the state desperately need the social, emotional and spiritual support of a trusted and trained adult. To help keep school…

In this new season, children and young people across the state desperately need the social, emotional and spiritual support of a trusted and trained adult. To help keep school chaplaincy going, head to suqld.org.au/bringhope

Chappy Paula is passionate about chaplaincy. She’s been in the job for nearly 13 years, and says each day is a new opportunity to show love and hope.

“My background is in teaching, but my passion was always being a support person and a helper – that’s what I felt was very important and rewarding,” says Chappy Paula.

Chappy Paula re-stocking food supplies

“Every child needs a supportive, safe person and environment, otherwise mental health and anxieties can really overwhelm them. I’ve seen children suffer if they haven’t got nurturing care. I like that chaplaincy is about walking alongside the kids – it’s very personable.”

“Because I’ve been in the community for so long, I’ve built rapport with the families. Many will openly share what’s been going on in their lives, and I’m able to help them as much as I can. Support looks different for everyone. One boy turned up post-COVID without a lunchbox, and I was able to feed him and find some food for him to take home. It’s often simple things that others don’t have the time to concentrate on.”

Over the past few months, Chappy Paula has been getting creative in how she can support families – particularly those who are doing it tough.

“Each of the three schools I work at gets support from FoodBank, local communities and churches, but at the beginning of May when I went in to pick up the food, they said Coles had sent in a truckload of donations to support families. I was overwhelmed!”, says Chappy Paula.

“They provided a trailer to get it all back to the school because it wouldn’t fit in my station wagon. We had about 240 cars pull in on the Friday morning when parents came to pick up their learning packs. The teaching staff and I were dressed up, and were able to wave to the kids (and some family dogs!) through the window.”

“We organised the car park into lane-ways (Year 1 pickup, Year 2 pickup etc.) and then at the end was all the food. Even if some families only took something little, like a loaf of bread, it was great to be able to give them something to take home with them. Anything is a bonus when you’re going through hard times.”

Year One teacher, Tania Collins, had a fantastic day manning the Chappy Food stall.

“Despite the overcast, chilly, windy weather, the atmosphere in the car park was full of positivity, pleasure and pride in being a Woongarra staff member,” says Tania.

“Chappy Paula is a great support to our ‘Woonie’ families and provides a very caring and nurturing role to all. She is never too busy to be a ‘safe person’ and provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and offer solutions both practical and spiritual.”

Year One teacher, Tania Collins says shes proud to be a Woongarra staff member

Despite the craziness of the past few months, Chappy Paula is grateful for the unity that has formed in the school. 

“It’s been a rough few months, but I’ve seen a lot of good come out of the season. I think we’ve grown as a school community and have realised we’re part of a bigger team.”

“We have a really effective support team at our school – I work closely with the guidance officer to support families in our communities, and we have great leadership from our Principal. It’s lovely to see how we can all work together to assist and care for our families.”

It’s because of you that Chappies like Paula can bring encouragement and support to their communities. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Di shares baskets of fruit with her community

In times of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and your chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to find…

In times of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and your chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to find out how you can help keep this vital mission going!

A few weeks ago, Chappy Di was able to support 9 local families by hand-delivering fruit baskets to their doorstep.

“The fruit baskets were a way to keep up with vulnerable families without being invasive – and it was also a great opportunity to check in on the kids. It was beautiful to see how excited these families were when they saw us arrive,” says Chappy Di.

“I’m so glad to have partnered with the well-being team at school to prepare these hampers. They were the ones who came up with the idea of filling them with fruit (bananas, apples, mandarins, pineapples, grapes and kiwi), because if the students were still at school, they would have received fruit as part of our Breakfast Club program.” 

Chappy Di on her way to deliver the fruit baskets

For one special family who were struggling, Chappy Di partnered with a local charity, Hidden Treasure, to deliver a stroller and an extra food hamper.

“This beautiful mum never would have asked, but when we showed up with the stroller and the food, she was so thankful. She said “You’re gonna make me cry.” You could see the joy on her face when a need was filled – she knew it was a genuine gift, and that there were no strings attached.”

“The whole hamper-process really showed me that this season can be used for good. God opened the way with the well-being team at school, and it was definitely a community effort.”

Chappy Di has had a lifetime of experience working in insurance, human resources and more, but knew that God was guiding her towards a future in chaplaincy.

“I’ve worked in a variety of jobs and that’s given me a lot of experience and skills. By the time I’d completed my SU Training and was working in a school, I had a sensitivity for people built into me,” says Chappy Di.

“It’s funny, looking back, I can see that I was guided towards a chaplaincy role long before I became a chaplain. There were domestic violence cases in some of the factories I worked at, and I did training with migrant women. Those sorts of situations taught me how to be a really good listener.”

“As a chaplain, I’m an impartial voice and that’s why the kids will share with me. They know I’m listening to them, and listening is not judging.”

“This COVID-19 season has been an eye-opener. Visiting those families has given me a new perspective in my role of caring for families. It’s shown me that it’s important to take a moment to see what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s often a lot more going on than you realise.”

It’s because of you that Chappies like Di can bring encouragement and support to their communities. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

 

 

Posted: 12/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Karl’s big heart for his small town

Three years ago Karl felt the call to school chaplaincy – and that call led him to the small town of Marmor, Queensland, where he and his family now…

Three years ago Karl felt the call to school chaplaincy – and that call led him to the small town of Marmor, Queensland, where he and his family now live in a renovated old church.

In this remote community of roughly 150 people, Chappy Karl finds gardening is a great way to bring support (and fresh fruit and vegetables) right to the table of the residents.

“I do a lot of work in the community gardens. It’s great for the kids to get involved with it – they go home and ask their parents to plant their own family garden!” says Chappy Karl.

Chappy Karl with school captain and garden-helper, Charlotte O’Grady

 

“We grow watermelons, rockmelons, zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkins – everything. We also do community cooking with the produce. I know that there have been some rough times in the past, and living so far out, people can’t always get into town for food. These gardens have been a real boost for the community.”

Throughout the COVID19 season, Chappy Karl has been doing everything he can to support students, parents and staff across his two schools.

“I’ve been fitting in where I”m needed. The last few years, I’ve been able to build a good rapport in the community – now it’s about being there for everyone,” says Chappy Karl.

“The role of a chaplain is to be there. It’s about building relationships and providing support and drawing on your strengths. I love that as a chaplain, you can be yourself. You’re there to spend time with the kids and to support their well-being.”

It’s because of you that Chappies like Karl can bring encouragement and support to their communities. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

Posted: 4/06/2020

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