Vinnies volunteers make a difference across the globe
To mark International Volunteer Day on Monday 5 December, the St Vincent de Paul Society celebrates and thanks its volunteers across the globe for their dedication in helping the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in our communities and being a voice for social justice.
International Volunteer Day is a United Nations auspiced day that commenced in 1985 and is now celebrated around the world as a day to recognise the contribution of volunteers in their communities.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul began in Paris in 1833 when a young Frederic Ozanam and a few university friends had a vision to ‘enfold the world in a network of charity’. Now a truly international organisation, the Society is present in 142 countries and has an astounding 2.2 million members and volunteers who give freely of their time.
Bec Bromhead, a member of the Society, who recently returned from working for the Society in South Africa, shared her perspective from having spent time with Vincentians around the world, saying: “I believe that our organisation plays a crucial role in our communities and our members and volunteers are the heart of our contribution.”
Sharing faith and changing lives
In Australia alone, more than 40,000 volunteers and members contributed millions of hours volunteering over the past year.
Volunteer Support Coordinator for Vinnies Kate Scholl knows the huge role volunteers and members in Australia play as a force of change in the community.
“We know the volunteers and members as the Vincentian family. Vincentians worldwide dedicate themselves to service to the poor and a holistic sharing of faith,” Kate said.
“They are part of a tightly knit worldwide community that is instrumental to changing the lives of many people.”
The dedicated men and women work in a range of the Society’s activities including Vinnies Centres, budget counselling, homeless services, migrant services, and of course, the core Society work of home visitation.
Home visitation sees Conference members visit people in their homes, in prisons, nursing homes and hospitals providing support, friendship and material assistance. In NSW alone this year, Conference members visited 215,000 people in need.
As we celebrate International Volunteer Day, Kate offers this invitation:
“Why not consider joining this worldwide community in service of the disadvantaged or vulnerable in our community?”
For more information, go to the ‘how to help’ menu at www.vinnies.org.au
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