Vinnies reminds it’s important to give
BY JOHN MCLAURIN
WITH homelessness and poverty on the rise ahead of Christmas, there has never been a more important time to give.
At Christmas last year, Vinnies in the Archdiocese provided more than $457,900 in assistance and more than 1588 hampers to families and individuals across the region.
That need has increased, says Archdiocesan St Vincent de Paul Society President Warwick Fulton, who spoke in the lead-up to the 2017 Christmas Appeal.
“Sadly for many people, Christmas is a time they feel further isolated from society if they don’t have support networks,” he said.
“Families struggle with large household bills and the stress of the school year looming can leave families feeling helpless.
“When a single parent who has escaped a violent relationship struggles just to put food on the table, the notion of buying gifts for their children or preparing a special Christmas meal is out of reach.”
The society says a donation can help provide for families and individuals doing it tough and to make wishes come true.
In the ACT, the organisation has added a second Night Patrol Van. It is expecting calls to grow while it continues to provide people with financial assistance, clothing, utilities, food hampers and gifts for children.
Sarah Clifton, Director of Youth and Young Adults, says support from the community is important.
“Each year we hold a Christmas party for all the children involved in our youth programs,” she said.
“Last year, we gave out more than 200 gifts to children aged between six and 17.
“We are only able to do this because of the generosity of the community at Christmas.”
Archbishop Christopher Prowse has focused this month’s editorial on homelessness (page 2), while the CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, Fr Frank Brennan SJ, has raised concern not only that the rate of child poverty is increasing, but that Australian society is becoming less caring.
“It is a national shame that after 25 years of economic growth, we have not been able to ensure our children are given the best possible start in life,” Fr Brennan said at this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
He says 731,300 children or 17.4% of all children in Australia, are living in poverty, an increase of two percentage points from 2004 to 2014.
Catholic Social Services Australia Director Liz de Chastel has penned a paper entitled The Human Face of Homelessness.
To obtain a copy download the order form at http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/publications/series-papers.
– To donate to the 2017 Vinnies Christmas Appeal or for volunteer opportunities, visit www.vinnies.org.au or call 13 18 12.