Vinnies Merimbula, answers the call
A dedicated group of St Vincent de Paul members at Merimbula met for their conference with the housing crisis and cost of living high on their agenda.
Member Warren Thomas said, “People think Merimbula is very affluent.”
“This is what surprises people. Rents have gone up. Sometimes $600-$700 a week! People come into the shop all the time needing help. There is actually a huge need here.”
St Vincent de Paul branches benefit most from cash donations which allows them to assist with rental payments, and support and supplies for people living in cars, tents, and so on. Mirroring the values of St Vincent de Paul himself, the group does not walk past a person who needs help.
“We do not discriminate. If people come into the shop for help, we help them. We don’t judge,” Warren said.
Merimbula President Frank Davey said the conference currently had only eight members, as volunteering can take its toll.
“During COVID, we lost one member through ill health and two others due to community commitments. So, like with most other branches, our greatest challenge will be getting enough volunteers to keep doing the work we do,” Frank said.
When asking the group whether they recommend volunteering they all cheered, “Yes! Yes, we recommend it! It’s so rewarding … helping people who need it, makes you feel good.”
There are 51 conferences in total over the Canberra-Goulburn diocese which means there is bound to be a branch near you. If you would like to volunteer for St Vincent de Paul head to the website and apply online: https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Get_Involved/Become_a_volunteer/NSW/ Or pop into your local Vinnies shop.
There has never been a greater time or need for volunteers.