Vinnies News Weekly

May Week 02


On Saturday 2nd May 2015, St Vincent de Paul Society, family and friends in Auckland came together to celebrate the commissioning of around 50 Vinnies Youth leaders from across 13 Secondary Schools and various, tertiary, Parishes and community. This took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral.


The theme of the Mass inspired by the words of Mother Theresa was ” We belong to each other”.” This Mass was celebrated by the most Reverend Bishop Patrick Dunn. We wish to congratulate these youth leaders and all the Vinnies Youth throughout Auckland and we pray for their journey of service for 2015.


St Paul’s College Vinnies prepare dinner for the residents

Every night across Auckland, hundreds of young men, women and children will go to sleep wishing they had a permanent place to call home. It is a lifestyle that is sadly challenging and stressful.

Too often this issue is reduced to being the fault of the individual. Statistical research tells us that homelessness is the result of many incremental factors. Increasing rental prices, shortage of housing,  social issues and chronic illnesses are just a small number of here factors.

The issue is a big one and often may seem quite daunting. For young people who want to make a difference, opportunities are few and far in between. As part of mobilizing young people to learn more about Homelessness and experience what it is like, the Vinnies roster on different youth volunteers at the James Liston Emergency Housing Facility twice each week.

In the past weeks St Paul’s College put themselves forward to volunteer at the local homeless shelter with the hope of connecting and learning more. This experience has taught them more about the lives of those who do not have a place to call home and inspired them as young people to be a part of the solution to the problem.


Some of the thoughts that came to mind when the students reflected on what 'Homelessness' is
Some of the thoughts that came to mind when the students reflected on what ‘Homelessness’ is

As the theme of ‘Homelessness’ continues to be unpacked, the Vinnies of McAuley High School are becoming connected  and informed about about the reality faced by many in our community.

These young women have been exploring the representation of homelessness in the media, and how stereotypes that shape our society’s perception. They also looked at the cause and effects of homelessness.

Volunteering at a local Emergency housing facility that caters for families has provided a platform for these students to integrate their learning. At this project they run a Positive Socialization programme with the children . This program consists of educational games, performances and sporting activities.


Liston College Volunteers

As the youth programme continues to be rolled out amongst the secondary schools in Auckland, many school conferences have started to volunteer in their local Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Centres.

These have become unique opportunities for students to get to know more about their local community and also about the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The Vinnies of Liston, Marist, Sancta Maria, St Mary’s and St Peter’s College recently volunteered at their local SVDP centres.

Marist College Volunteers
Sancta Maria College Vinnies assisting at the Manurewa St Vincent de Paul Centre
Sancta Maria College Volunteers
St Mary’s College & Marist College volunteers
St Peter’s College Volunteers

The staff of these centres have been most appreciative for the extra help.

In the upcoming weeks, Carmel and Rosmini College will start volunteering at the SVdP Centres based on the North Shore.



Given the current the statistics on poverty in New Zealand, many families struggle to put decent nutritious meals on the table.

The students of Sacred Heart College decided early on the year to do something about this. Over the past few months, they have been growing a vegetable garden. The hope was to donate all the crops to the local foodbank.

In addition to this they have spent the term collecting funds during their school breaks. The money they have raised has been used to purchase bulk food to top up the supplies at St Pius School to donate to the families.of students needing the food assistance.



The Vinnies at Rosmini College have been learning about Food Insecurity. During their recent session they discussed the factors that can hinder the ability of a family to put food on the table.

The students learnt about the statistics in New Zealand and also how this inability stems from a range of different factors including illnesses, job insecurity loss, social issues amongst many others.

Over the next few weeks they will be looking into practical actions in which they can make a difference.


Sacred Heart students’ Homeless Sleepout.

Sacred Heart College students preparing for the cold night ahead
Sacred Heart College students preparing for the cold night ahead

In solidarity with those who are homeless in Auckland City,  orphans in the slums of Honduras and also struggling students in the Pacific, the Sacred Heart Vinnies organised a Survive A Slum Sleepout event.
They began the night with Mass. This was followed by dinner which consisted only of a small plate of rice, they took part in group activities and workshops organized by the teachers and the Vinnies staff.

Later on in the night students retired to their makeshift shelters. It was a struggle for many to sleep through the night as it continued to get colder. Having only a plate of rice for dinner did not help.
During their dawn reflection the participants shared honestly about the struggle, how much they had taken for granted, how much they were impacted through what they had learnt and how sad and overwhelmed they felt.

The retreat ended with a poignant liturgy of the Washing of the Hands. This signified a special blessing for the participants to signify their journey of service, their brotherhood and connection with those less fortunate.


Leaders Daniel O'Donnell and Luke Callawader briefing the team
Leaders Daniel O’Donnell and Luke Callawader briefing the team
Closing Liturgy the next Morning

Vinnies News Weekly

April Week 04


Fraser Munro from Mrs Mac pies (Left) pictured with Peter Irving from St Vincent de Paul
Fraser Munro from Mrs Mac pies (Left) pictured with Peter Irving from St Vincent de Paul

As the winter season approaches, families struggle with increases in the price of heating and fuel amongst other costs. Food insecurity becomes a real issue for many families during this time.There are many factors that contribute towards food insecurity which include health issues, unemployment and social problems and there is no one clear solution to this.

The St Vincent de Paul Society understand this and also understand that people quite simply need food on the table. The Society are very grateful to the numerous donors, sponsors and volunteers who give of their time and resources to make sure these families are cared for.

During the week the St Vincent de Paul in Kingsland received around 12,000 pies to the value of approximately $30,000 to distribute amongst all the St Vincent de Paul food banks. This generous donation was  will be distributed to close to twenty food banks across Auckland to support families seeking food assistance. We wish to thank the management of Mrs Mac’s pies for this most generous donations.


Preparing candles for the upcoming Vinnies Commissioning Mass

As part of the St Vincent de Paul Society service immersion youth programme, students from Catholic Secondary schools are encouraged to volunteer in their local Vinnies Centre/ shop. The hope is that through these opportunities they will experience first hand what goes on in a Vinnies Centre in order to provide for those who come in seeking assistance.

Marist College Vinnies assisting at the Kingsland SVdP Centre
Marist College Vinnies assisting at the Kingsland SVdP Centre

Students from Marist, Sancta Maria and St Peter’s College dedicate a couple of afternoons a week to assist at their local Vinnies shoppe/centre.  These young men and women assist in packing food for the foodbank, sorting clothing as well as assisting in the opportunity shop.

Sancta Maria College Vinnies assisting at the Manurewa St Vincent de Paul Centre
Sancta Maria College Vinnies assisting at the Manurewa St Vincent de Paul Centre


Connecting in with residents at the local emergency housing centre

Throughout this term young men of St Paul’s College dedicated their early evening to preparing and serving meals to residents of the local emergency housing centre. Approximately 39 residents stay at this centre, receiving two meals a day as well a room of their own. By allowing students to serve at this platform, this provides an opportunity to break down stereotypes and connect with others in our community.


Carmel College Vinnies having a group discussion on incarceration in New Zealand

Throughout the school term, the Vinnies of Carmel of College will be focusing on prisons as a form of social injustice.  After reviewing some statistics, these young women investigated some of the impacts of prison on the wider community. Through discussion and reflection, the students hope to better understand and inform themselves while continuing their works within the community.


Students of St Mary’s College serving soup to the residents of the local emergency housing centre

The students from St Mary’s College have now come to the end of their service work at James Liston Hostel. As part of their final visit, they honored the residents and the staff with a generous gift, thanking the residents for their friendship and for the love and support expressed during their time together. The students reflected on their experience throughout Term 1 and were grateful for the laughter and conversations shared and especially the precious insights on life they received. Thank you St Mary’s Vinnies for your generosity, your courage and your commitment to this part of your service journey.


Students learning more about ‘Social Exclusion’ present in the community

We are all one family in the eyes of Christ and the important thing is “it is people, it is people, it is people” and that Christ excluded nobody. During this school visit, the students of Liston College, had the opportunity to explore the theme “social exclusion”. In groups they discussed what social exclusion is, where it happens and who is excluded. It was really inspiring to see the students engage with the theme within the discussions and realizing the reality that social exclusion has on society.



As the old saying goes – “You can never judge a book by its cover, and nothing is completely as it seems”. During this school visit, an energetic group of St Paul’s College students all gathered at lunch break to take part in the Vinnies youth team workshop on Homelessness. The young men took part in group discussion and activities which spoke a lot on the definition, causes and types of “Homelessness”. St Paul’s College Vinnies will spend the remainder of this term unpacking the theme and finding different ways to try and make a change within their community.


St Michael’s Youth preparing Easter packs for James Liston Hostel

Prior to Easter, these young men and women spent many hours putting together little personalized Easter treats. These were great fully received by families in emergency housing and our friends at James Liston Hostel. On behalf of the residents at James Liston Hostel, we would like to thank St Michael’s Youth for their support and care.