After a difficult year for the St Vincent de Paul Society in which resources were stretched to the limit by natural disasters in the region, including the Tathra bushfires and the ongoing drought, Vinnies are devoting February to door-knocking appeals.
Kristy Huang started volunteering for the Vinnies Doorknock Appeal five years ago after she graduated from studying accounting at the University of Canberra. One of her lecturers encouraged her to participate as a way to get to know people and learn a bit more about Australian culture.
She enjoyed the experience and felt it was of mutual benefit for her and the charity. “For some people it’s fitness, for some it’s friendship, for me, it’s a challenge. So it’s good to raise money for a good cause, but it’s not one-way.
“We walk around, and get to know each other and start to develop a network. We organise meet-ups, and every year there are new people joining our little community. Also, our co-ordinator’s wife puts on an amazing afternoon tea. You can’t say no to good food!”
Kristy makes it more fun by having a door-knocking competition with her friend Mark Hughes, whom she says always wins. He’s been doorknocking for about eight years and has always encouraged, mostly international, ex-students to get involved.
“This is a good networking opportunity for this group of people who are fairly new to Australia. We’ve established quite a group who come back each year to help. Some have moved away, but if they’re in town they’ll join in,” said Mark. “It’s good for the community.
“Not everyone wants to donate, but they’ll offer water on a hot day, or have a chat. A lot of people are really happy to see us,” said Mark.
The Vinnies February Doorknock Appeal has been running for over 32 years and is successful because of the dedicated volunteers who donate their time each year, and the generosity of the Canberra community.
Last year’s appeal raised more than $281,000 which enabled the Society to continue to provide support to disadvantaged people. Each year the Society provides over $2 million worth of assistance to over 40,000 people in the Canberra/Goulburn region. Last year over 1,400 people covered 54 per cent of Canberra households. This year the aim is to cover 70 per cent and therefore 1,800 volunteers are needed.
The Vinnies Doorknock Appeal runs for the month of February in Canberra and Jerrabomberra. To volunteer please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or to donate, visit any Canberra Vinnies shop, call 13 18 12 or via vinnies.org.au/doorknock.