Society of St Vincent de Paul and parishes prepare to help those who have little.
By Robert Hiini
The Society of St Vincent de Paul and local Catholic parish Outreach groups are both preparing to make Christ present by helping the needy this Christmas.
The Society kicked off its 2008 Christmas Appeal on 27 November at Burswood Park at an event attended by schools, corporate volunteers, volunteers and Community Services Minister Robyn McSweeny MLC.
The Mercedes College Choir performed carols while students from St Joseph’s Primary in Queens Park performed a nativity play.
The Society needs to raise $600,000 to ensure that the 2500-plus individual calls it receives every month asking for emergency welfare assistance in the form of food, clothing, help with utility bills and bedding get answered – not just at Christmas but throughout the year. “We’re seeing families who are struggling to pay rent, some have lost their jobs and others are just feeling the pressures that the busy and expensive Christmas period can bring and with the economy on the down turn, we expect things are only going to get tougher for the families we assist,” spokesperson Lucinda Ardagh said.
“This Appeal helps to fund the Society’s West Australian support services programs well into next year, so the funds raised are vital to ensure we are in a situation to be able to respond to every genuine call for help we receive over the next six months.”
The charity is encouraging the community to make a financial donation or alternatively, food vouchers, toys and readymade food hampers are more than welcome.
Catholic parish Outreach associations are also providing festive cheer, practical help and emotional support to people in the lead up to Christmas.
Sacred Heart Parish in Mundaring held their annual Christmas morning tea on Friday November 28 in their hall, inviting residents of a local nursing home as well as parishioners.
Students from La Salle College prepared the food and pre-primary students from Sacred Heart School gave a concert while their Year Six colleagues served food and tea.
Local coordinator, Annette Dawe, said Sacred Heart Care provides assisance to those in need throughout the year, visiting people’s homes, distributing emergency food and arranging transport for medical appointments.
In metropolitan Perth, 25 parishes have similar parishioner-driven Outreach organisations that provide a range of services to people in their local areas.
In the parish of Sts John and Paul, Willetton, children from Orana Catholic Primary’s after school catechesis program have been collecting Christmas presents for every resident of two nursing homes in the area.
The children’s catechists will deliver the presents that the children have donated and wrapped and the childrens’ personal cards of Christmas well wishes in the coming week.