In 2010, volunteers of the St Vincent de Paul Society visited over 11,000 homes and assisted over 45,000 men, women and children in Canberra and Queanbeyan alone. The Society spent over $800,000 to support these individuals and families by providing accommodation, bedding, clothing, food, utilities, health, medical assistance and much more.
This morning (Thursday, 3 February 2011), the Society officially launched the annual Doorknock Appeal at The Deck Restaurant, Regatta Point with volunteers, members and staff.
Without financial donations, the St Vincent de Paul Society and its volunteers cannot continue to help local people in desperate need, giving them the breathing space to get back on their feet, such as families in crisis living on the streets.
“In recent times, we have seen a new cause of poverty in our community beyond the well-known factors that make life difficult for many. The very high costs of rent and housing is causing a new underclass of poverty in our community. People who would otherwise be able to manage are pushed beyond the limit just by the cost of rent. The Doorknock Appeal provides vital resources to help people in this situation survive from week to week.” Explains Frank Brassil, Vice-President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn Central Council.
Kevin McKeown, author of Inspiration at 37,000 Feet – A Journey to Self-Discovery, knows what it is like to be living a life marred by addictions, going nowhere and slowly self-destructing.
“In 1998, I was living in a house with my brother. The fridge and cupboards were empty and our next Centrelink payment wasn’t for another week. We thought about attempting to ride it out, however the hunger was too much to bear. So I called Vinnies and within hours we had groceries, fruit, bread and various meats. Vinnies had saved us and continued to help me as I fought my addictions and got my life back into order. It’s hard to do anything when you have nothing to eat or in some cases nowhere to live.” states Kevin McKeown.
Kevin was the guest speaker at the launch, and spoke about his experience and how it affected his family, as well as the help he received from Vinnies and how he continues to help Vinnies to this day. Kevin is currently a successful real estate agent.
This year the Society hopes to raise $320,000 to support these local families and individuals needing help to get back on their feet. For the month of February, volunteers will be pounding the pavements throughout Canberra and Queanbeyan and knocking on doors. The Society also announced today that one third of the funds raised through Doorknock will be going to St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland to help with their resources during this devastating time due to the floods and cyclone.
Canberrans can help break the cycle of poverty in their community by making a financial donation when a Vinnies volunteer knocks on their door during February or visiting our website vinnies.org.au or calling 02 6282 2722.
The Society also needs more volunteers to help collect donations in suburbs around Canberra and Queanbeyan. For more details please call 02 6234 7340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org