WelCom May 2020:
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has continued to offer support to individuals and communities across the country during the Covid-19 lockdown. Through phone calls with regular clients, parish phone trees and in some regions, food deliveries, the nationwide charitable organisation is keeping up its mission of helping.
St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington (Vinnies) has adapted its welfare and support services to provide essential service packs to individuals and families struggling through lockdown.
‘We’ve been ensuring our community has access to essential items we hope will help give some peace of mind over this uncertain time, as well as help free up any extra cash to go towards additional food and bills,’ says Manager, John Rossbotham.
The packs cover food support, baby materials and winter goods such as warm clothing, bedding, heating and cookware. A small team of six ‘essential’ staff, including two delivery drivers, are working from the Newtown Welfare and Service Hub to answer incoming calls and distribute packs.
‘Often people are simply relieved you have answered their call,’ says Communications and Marketing Manager, Millie Lambess.
From when New Zealand went onto Level 4 lockdown on 23 March, Vinnies in Wellington has supported more than 800 adults and children and distributed over 400 packs. Over $35,000 has been spent on foodbank items from more than $13,000 received in donations.
The Newtown centre has seen a 380 per cent increase in people accessing its services, with the majority in need of food. Bulk orders of food and essential items are being purchased on a weekly basis by the Society. During lockdown Vinnies Op Shops have been unable to accept drop-off food donations from the public, and SVdP Wellington is calling on the wider community to consider making a cash donation towards its purchase of foodbank supplies.
Donations can be made at: vinnies-wellington.org.nz/donate
Vinnies continues to support several external agencies and organisations. Alongside practical support, the Vinnies Community Social Worker is working closely with on-going cases and Society members are calling isolated elderly to check in with them each week.
St Vincent de Paul Kāpiti, Hutt, Blenheim, Kapi-Mana and elsewhere in the dioceses are doing similar work.
If you would like to donate to the Vinnies in your local area or are requiring urgent assistance please contact your closest shop using St Vincent de Paul shop directory at: www.svdp.org.nz/page/our-shops/ or go to ‘Need help, offer help’ at: www.wn.catholic.org.nz/adw_community/need-help-offer-help/
Once lockdown is over, please consider getting more involved in your local SVDP group. Some regions have a volunteer base who are mainly aged over 70, which currently makes them unable to offer deliveries of food or other essential items. Working together helps to ensure ongoing support for those in need among local communities and across Aotearoa New Zealand.