‘For I was hungry and you gave me food’ Matthew 25:35
Each day the Vinnies Soup Vans emerge from a community kitchen in North Melbourne to serve meals to the homeless and others in need in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. These well-equipped vans have been acquired by the generosity of several large firms and service organisations. It was a major operation, coordinated by the St Vincent de Paul Society and initially involved five vans, which were crewed on a roster of volunteers from several religious denominations and community groups. These volunteers – who refer to themselves as “vannies” – prepared and served hot soup, tea and coffee, with fruit, filled rolls, savoury items and cakes. Their interaction with clients each evening provided social contact as well as sustenance.
Much of this has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for social distancing has meant that packaged goods have replaced much of the original menu. A hall adjacent to the community kitchen has now been transformed into a packing shed, where cloth bags are filled with food items and dispatched for distribution during the day using a fleet of vans which has now grown to seven. Families in need, our friends on the street and people experiencing food insecurity in hotels, boarding houses, towers and other residential areas, and now even those in vaccination queues, are provided with nourishment.
Much of the food distributed is donated, and members of the St Vincent de Paul Camberwell Conference have been involved with the supply of food for nearly two decades. On a weekly basis, members of the Camberwell Conference collect unsold bread, rolls, cakes and savoury items from Bakers’ Delight and Brumby’s and transport them to North Melbourne for sorting and packaging. It is significant that in Western countries stores must display a cornucopia of perishable food throughout the day so that by closing time there is usually a quantity left over which would go to landfill if not utilised by a charity. Yet another avenue to carry out the mission given to us in the Gospels and by our founder, Blessed Frederick Ozanam.
“Charity is the cement which binds communities to God and persons to one another”
Donations to the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal may be made by:-
Credit card or PayPal
Visit vinnies.org.au/winterappeal When donating online, please remember to nominate your Parish St Vincent De Paul Conference as:
- Deepdene/Balwyn Conference 404,
- Camberwell Conference 401, or
- Surrey Hills 393 Conference.
This information may be inserted in the “comments” field at the bottom of the online donation form.
Telephone on 13 18 12
Please advise the operator of your Parish St Vincent De Paul Conference as:
- Deepdene/Balwyn Conference 404,
- Camberwell Conference 401 or
- Surrey Hills Wattle Park Conference 393
Electronic Fund Donations may be made to the following account at Vinnies Box Hill:
Account Name: SVDP Vic Inc – GIFT FUND
BSB – 063003 and Account Number – 10081787
The Description – in the reference field please include the local conference numbers as:
- Reference No 404 (for Deepdene/Balwyn Conference)
- Reference No 401 (for Camberwell)
- Reference No 393 (for Surrey Hills)
We recommend that you print out a Confirmation Notice for your records
By cash or cheque
Donations may be sent to PO Box 786, Kew, Vic 3101. Please make your cheque payable to St Vincent de Paul.
Vinnies Winter Appeal Collection
will be held at all Masses on the weekend of 19/20 June 2021
(Covid-19 regulations permitting)
All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible. If you require a tax receipt, please ensure you clearly write your name and address when remitting your donation.
By John Morrissey
Treasurer, SVDP Camberwell Conference