Vinnies News Weekly

August Highlights

Vinnies Regional Gatherings

As part of the Vinnies Youth Programme, schools that are involved receive regular input sessions for education and formative purposes. These are designed to inform their service works throughout the year. Over the last month, the connections formed in these schools have culminated in a series of regional gatherings for Vinnies Youth. Primarily hosted for senior students, the collectives are invited to share with one another what drew them to the Vincentian charism – and how they choose to live it out. These gatherings unfold as an opportunity to have conversations around openness and vulnerability. It also provides a platform for students of differing opinions to connect and explore the power of unity. As fatigued as the students were from juggling the numerous realities of their student life, they were thankful for the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on their journey to date. Through reflective process these young men and women were able to feedback to their collective the ways in which they enjoy service – and the challenges they hope to overcome before the year has ended. 

SVdP National Leaders Gathering

The National Vinnies leaders from Wellington recently came to Auckland to host a gathering. The purpose of this gathering was to look at ways to revitalise membership for the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Vincentians from across the north island were in attendance, as well as several young adults from Vinnies Youth Auckland. There were facilitated discussions among the regions on how to sustain the Society for the foreseeable future, and which steps might need to be taken to realise it.

Students Caring for the Community

As part of the schools youth programme, the students involved learn about the community and social justice issues such as food insecurity. They have come to know that food insecurity reflects the limited ability to source nutritional and safe foods. For many of them, they know all too well what going to school hungry might look and feel like; and how this is common for families in wider Aotearoa society. In being mindful of these facts, the same students have gone on to lead cooking programmes at their local community kitchen. The purpose of these cooking sessions are to provide a source of nutrition for families who are in need within their community. Each of the schools involved enjoy these moments to bond in the kitchen, and put into practice the things they are learning as part of the Vinnies Youth Programme.

Feed a Family Appeal

Every year St Vincent de Paul Kingsland give out over 2500 food parcels to Families in need. The Feed A Family Appeal was therefore set up to support families struggling to put food on the table. A number of parishes have endorsed and launched the appeal within their collectives this month:

  • St Josephs Parish Grey Lynn
  • St John Vianney Parish Hillsborough
  • The Good Shepherd Balmoral

St John Vianney parish led a bakesale stall to further contribute to the cause. The generosity shown by each of the congregations has been immense. The Society of St Vincent de Paul would like to thank Fr Iosefo Timo, Fr Francis Poon & Monsignor Bernard Kiely for their support of the appeal in their respective parishes.

St Cuthbert’s join the Vinnies Youth Community

The Society of St Vincent de Paul wish to congratulate the staff and the new Vinnies leaders of St Cuthbert’s College for establishing their first Vinnies group. The first visit was built on connecting, sharing, learning, empathising and taking a closer look at their lives and those who are affected by poverty. During the session the staff shared about Vinnies Youth, the Charism and some of the work carried out by Society of St Vincent de Paul throughout Auckland. The response of the students was positive and the youth team expressed that it was such a privilege to be a part of St Cuthbert’s first meeting for 2019.

Developing their Toolkit: Vinnies Youth School Visits

Each week, Vinnies Youth collectives in the high schools gather for regular meetings. The purpose of these gatherings are to provide vision, and tools so that students can engage more effectively with people they serve. The Youth Team often run additional sessions within the high school to add to their expanding skillset. These include:

  • Empathetic skills e.g storytelling, compassionate understanding etc.
  • Guiding skills e.g. motivating one another, public speaking etc.
  • Learning skills e.g. Critical thinking etc. 
  • Facilitating skills e.g. listening, recognising potential, team building etc. 
  • Creative skills e.g. inspiring, empowering etc. 

The development of these skills have allowed students to think more deeply about their involvement in the community, and how they can put their learnings into practice as they lead their respective service projects.

Cans for Christmas – Food Appeal

Cans for Christmas was established in 2015 as a community building project between the Catholic Schools around New Zealand to donate cans of food to their local St Vincent de Paul or Foodbank. This time last year, Cans for Christmas had grown to include 47 schools in 2018 and raised 22,000 cans of food for those in need. Earlier in the month of August, some of the Cans for Christmas team have begun dropping off hundreds of crates of food. These are destined for families in need within the community over the Christmas period. 

Supporting the local opshop

The Society of St Vincent de Paul based in Kingsland have been privileged to have the assistance of students in the opshop. These young men and women have been pivotal in ensuring the stock are set out nicely, and putting together food parcels for families seeking assistance. The older volunteers enjoy having the students around, who often share stories of their Vinnies experience, or even of the odd items that are donated which have a history of its own. 

Feed a Family

August Highlights

Poor nutrition contributes to significant mental health impacts, particularly for children in the early years of their development. While there has been a commendable government commitment to improving mental health services and its access across the country, poverty through food insecurity has notable implications. Those who through no fault of their own rely on cheap ‘filler’ foods often find that their food lacks nutrients, are high in fat and in salt. This is significant as it often results in a higher risk of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Many families experience the reality of this when they are unable to make ends meet and provide sufficient food for meals. The Society of St Vincent de Paul are no stranger to the people who come through seeking support at the local foodbank. There have been stories of struggle, anxiety and hope for the unknown – particularly at where their next meal would come from. In the past year, the Kingsland foodbank assisted over 3000 people with food support. Each and every individual who waits in queue are part of a wider family. There are often children brought to the forefront. Sometimes they are waiting at home with a significant other, but often they are in the queue with their caregiver. 

St Mary’s College students preparing food parcels

August saw the launching of the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal within several other parishes within Auckland. Many parishioners have since heeded the call to support local families. The Society of St Vincent de Paul would like to thank Fr Iosefo Timo and the parishioners of St Joseph’s Parish Grey Lynn, The Good Shepherd Parish Balmoral as well as St John Vianney Parish in Hillsborough. The youth of St John Vianney parish kindly led a bake sale fundraiser to help with the appeal, providing a space of hospitality and awareness for wider needs within the community. The funding from this appeal continues to be used in support of local families affected by food insecurity.

Students from St Mary’s College also contributed to the cause through joining the family feeding programme. With the assistance of staff and facilities at Pompalier Centre in Ponsonby, these young women were able to whip up a meal from scratch.  Other colleges throughout Auckland continue to gather in their respective communities after school to do the same.