WelCom August 2017: Children whooped and mothers cried with joy when, in June, St Vincent de Paul volunteers delivered nearly 40 parcels of warm clothing for the families of 130 children in the Hastings suburbs of Camberley and Flaxmere.
Mary Fama of the Hastings Parish Environmental and Social Justice Group came up with the idea of providing warm clothes for families in need over winter, which she organised with Laurie Nichol of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
The idea – which began in 2015‒2016 from the ‘Jarmy Army’ programme of the Te Aranga Marae U-Turn Trust – aimed to identify disadvantaged children in the parish community area and to purchase thermals to keep them warm through the Hawke’s Bay winter.
The new thermals were purchased in bulk with generous discounts by Farmers and The Warehouse local branches.
We are also hugely grateful to the Catholic Parish of Hastings parishioners for their gifts of new and used clothing and bedding; the Palmerston North Catholic Charities’ Allocations Committee for their grant; the U-Turn Trust, Flaxmere; the Catholic Parish of Central Hawke’s Bay; the three SVdP Hastings conferences; and many private donors.
After a busy five-hour sort-and-pack day at St Peter Chanel Parish Centre, Laurie and Mary and the volunteers had everything ready for delivery. Laurie said the ‘a huge success’ was made possible by parishioner and diocesan support.
‘The project started with a few packages of donated clothes and built to a fabulous quantity, with monetary support, to clothe those in need. And we easily filled a dozen baskets for another delivery.’
After we initially catered for 20 families in need, Laurie found more families to help and a third set of parcels was delivered on 2 July. In all, 180 children have been provided with warm clothing this winter.
2017 marks the 150th year the Society of St Vincent de Paul has been operating in New Zealand.