Vinnies News Weekly

JULY 2019 HIGHLIGHTS

Feed a Family Winter Appeal

‘Feed a Family’ is an appeal run by the staff of Vinnies Kingsland and supported by the Vinnies young adults. Through July and into the beginning of August this is being launched at the local parishes  around the Auckland CBD periphery including the St Patricks Cathedral to raise funds for food support. The purpose of this appeal is to support families who are struggling to put food on the table. The people who come to us seeking support, vary from your city rough sleeper, through to parents and grandparents both with jobs who simply cannot put food on the table due to extra costs. Other people are referred through social service providers, Work and Income, mental health services, refuges, prison and so forth.

‘Feed a Family’ is therefore more than simply an appeal, it is an opportunity to connect with a family, and truly make a difference. Recently, the Vinnies Youth have been running the appeal across parishes in Auckland – seeking to bring awareness about food insecurity and what people can do about it.


Supporting the Community

The number of families and individuals affected by the shortage of food and resources during these cold months has grown exponentially. The students of Marist College are aware of the unfolding statistics as they have learnt these in school. They are also aware of the reality of these families, as they have encountered them firsthand within their service at the local opshop. These young women have chosen to make a difference. Throughout the last few weeks they have mobilised their school and collected over 4000+ items of food to distribute to families across Auckland.


Gathering As One Community: “Remain Steadfast”

Leaders from across Auckland hosted an event for youth from various regions, ministries and colleges across the Diocese. The theme was “Remain Steadfast”. The hope was to establish and foster friendships with one another other, and provide a platform to sustain these connections into the foreseeable future. The day included conversations on faith and service, as well as participation in activities such as, praise and worship, team bonding activities, keynotes and adoration. This was well attended by many Vinnies Youth, who gravitated to finding a space for formation and connection with fellow servant leaders.


Authentic Leadership and the Call to Serve

The Auckland Vinnies School (AVSSC) leaders council gather each month for formation and community development. The recent gathering was led by AVSSC Alumini Latayvia Tualasea-Tautai. Latayvia is a member of NZ Social Welfare Expert Advisory team, Co-Founder Labournesia and student at the University of Auckland. She shared on her experiences as a leader in high school, and how faith, family and culture have shaped her journey of service. These young leaders have reached the half way mark of their academic year, and so this session provided a platform for them to reflect on their own leadership and the way forward.


Catholic Caring Mass 2019

The Catholic Caring Foundation hosted their Annual Caring Mass at the Christ the King parish church. This Mass was celebrated by Bishop Patrick Dunn and was attended by over one thousand people. It was moving to see people from many social service providers and community groups in attendance. These were men and women who committed themselves to making the world a better place. In attendance were also students from various schools who were invited to receive Caring awards in recognition of their love and service to the community. The Society of St Vincent de Paul are grateful to the Catholic Caring Foundation for supporting the Vinnies Youth programme through the many years including this year. There is no doubt the support has made a significant difference to the youth program. A beautiful part of the Mass was the acknowledgement of different volunteers and staff nominated by their work places to receive a Catholic Caring award. Theresa McCallum received an award from Bishop Pat Dunn and the Catholic Caring Foundation in acknowledgment for her many years of service to the poor through her work at St Vincent de Paul Kingsland. At the Vinnies Kingsland Centre, the the Team have had the privilege of working alonside some very passionate, caring and hard working volunteers. They bring a smile and sense of positivity that lights up peoples day, particularly those who seek support at the opshop or foodbank. It is with people such as Theresa that the Society are able to connect and better serve the community.


Building Upon The Foundation

Over the last month, members of the Vinnies Youth Team have been connecting in with school groups across Auckland. These visits often include the exploration of a social issue through empathy tools. Students have found that it is no easy task to make a meal from the contents of a typical food parcel. Nor is it easy to sit with the statistics of those who are incarcerated or without a place to call home. As these students embark on the service component of their journey this year, they are hopeful that their new found tools will aid in connecting with those they serve.  


Through Love We Heal

Building upon the relationships these last few months, a number of ministries have continued to flourish. These include services to those who are incarcerated, as well as those in care at the hospital. Each weekend, Vinnies and Vincentians come together to serve and build a sense of community. Each Sunday, a group of Vinnies Youth have the opportunity to visit those who reside within Mt Eden Prison. The group lead a Liturgy of the Word in up to two prison wings at a time, as well as some conversation and waita (songs).

Before Mass on Sunday, Vinnies Youth also have the opportunity to guide patients at Auckland Hospital to and from their rooms. Though the journey is short the conversations which take in the corridor provide a sense of positivity that is well receieved by all. The simple act of being able to attend the Mass is significant for those that go as they seek to recover and rehabilitate themselves.


Vinnies Youth Assisting in the Opshop

Students from colleges across Auckland have been visiting the Kingsland Vinnies Centre weekly. These provide a platform for youth to see firsthand where their donations go towards. Their key activities have included the sorting of clothing for the opshop, packing food into the foodbanks for families, as well as organising resources for school input sessions.


Making Meals Matter

Tasked with maintaining the wellbeing of families that come through the door, the Vinnies Centre in Otahuhu seek to provide a haven for those seeking assistance. Families come to the centre from across South Auckland, and so they rely on volunteers such as those from the local high schools to help prepare bulk meals. As an after school project, these young men and women gladly take to the kitchen to prepare and package the food so that families may be fed. The students thoroughly enjoy learning how to cook and bake these low cost nutritious meals.


Feed a Family

JULY HIGHLIGHTS

Feed a Family Appeal Launch 2019

This winter, thousands of Auckland families have few options but to feed themselves on less than $7 a meal. The reality of paying rent, debts, power, transport and medical costs often mean there is little left to spend on food. Furthermore, this also means that a families’ access to enough good quality, nutritious food is severely restricted. In an effort to make an impact on these realities, the ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal is being launched within numerous local parishes around the Auckland central business district. This includes parishes such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and St John the Baptist Church. Through this appeal, it is hoped that there grows a greater awareness around food insecurity within New Zealand, namely Auckland. The funds collected will be destined for families in need so that they do not need to worry about where their next meal comes from. 


From Funding to Food: A Journey of Accompaniment

A recent study from the Ministry of Health finds that almost one in five children live in a severely to moderately food-insecure household. As wider statistics about the situation of families within low socio-economic areas suggest, this means that more and more of Aotearoa’s families are struggling to put enough food on the table. Inadequate incomes predominantly cause people to select and consume low-cost foods, which tend to be energy dense and poor in nutrition. It should also be noted that the ability to acquire personally acceptable foods which meet cultural needs in a socially acceptable way becomes problematic in the wake of wider costs such as health, education and so on.

Through the generous donations of individuals and collectives towards to the ‘Feed A Family’ Appeal, this has allowed for a greater support of those living in food-insecure situations. Many students connected to the Society of St Vincent de Paul have been pivotal in rolling out feeding programmes at the local Foodbank. These programmes consist of regular bulk meal preparation after school, using an array of ingredients including meat and vegetables. Students see firsthand where the donations go, and play a significant part in cooking the meals. It also provides an invaluable time for team building and putting into practice the skills they learn within schools. The meals are then packaged and later distributed to families in need within the community. An important aspect of these feeding programmes are that they are made from scratch. The Society recognises the dignity of families and the importance of providing quality meals that meet nutrition needs.

The donations towards ‘Feed a Family’ are therefore important as they allow for the provision of a consistently wholesome and healthy diet. While these meals provide short-term, immediate relief to people; the Society of St Vincent de Paul continue to walk alongside these families in care and support. To address food poverty in Auckland, there continues to be awareness programmes within schools as well as through the launching of the appeal within parishes. What remains clear throughout is that the redistribution of food and funds are no substitute for the structural changes that come from understanding the needs of families within Aotearoa. Herein lies the invitation to learn from and accompany those who go without.