WelCom October 2020
Tina Quidilla and Annette Bridgman
Covid-19 has brought opportunities, inspiration and new insights for St Vincent de Paul Society’s Holy Trinity Eastern Suburbs Conference in Wellington. These have helped new and existing clients, through collaboration and coordination between parish, Conference members and Vinnie’s staff in Newtown.
With the onset of Level 4 lockdown in March, our Conference used client lists, parish office referrals of elderly and isolated parishioners, Vinnies social worker referrals and Conference-member knowledge to identify 180 clients to check on.
We used members, associates and prospective members to check-in through phone calls and assess specific needs such as food supply, clothing or child/baby needs, bedding, advocacy, or on-going check-up calls.
Overall there was positive feedback with Vinnies seen as representatives of a caring parish. We identified nine households needing weekly food parcels, which were delivered by Vinnies vans from nearby Newtown. These services continued into Alert Levels 3 and 2, and sometimes by Conference members.
As parishioners heard about our combined initiative, more food, household items and money were donated to help. Under Level 1, one of our members was able to take families shopping for their children who needed school items and clothing.
Also during Level 1, an elderly parishioner living alone and in financial hardship rang the parish office for help. Our Conference purchased a new microwave; the Vinnies social worker provided a new bed and dining furniture; members provided new bedding; and a referral was made to the parish priest about receiving communion.
The most effective services require coordination to fulfil a range of needs and require more than one person or group to achieve the best outcomes. Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to showcase the value of our parish office staff, priests, parishioners, our Conference members and Vinnies Welfare Centre staff working together. This has been inspiring for all involved.
Tina Quidilla and Annette Bridgman are members of Holy Trinity Eastern Suburbs Conference, St Vincent de Paul Society, Wellington.