Vinnies bring Christmas to needy families
ONE passion drives Tewantin St Vinnie’s volunteer Beryl Rowan, ensuring struggling families don’t have to spend this Christmas without food or presents under the tree.
Instead Beryl and other “Vincentians”, as the volunteers are known, want to spread the joy of the season.
She said in Tewantin dozens of local families doing it tough are helped by Vinnies to have a happy Christmas through its annual Christmas Appeal.
“Last year this young family came in, the husband had an accident not long before and he wasn’t able to work, they had three children and we said to them we’ve put you on the list for a hamper come and pick it up,” Beryl said.
“They were one of the families who ended up getting adopted through the adopt a family initiative here we run.
“The hamper they got was three large boxes which were beautifully wrapped. The mother just sat and cried and cried and cried she could not believe that people would be that generous and help her family at that time.”
Beryl said the mother had already told her children they weren’t having Christmas as Santa was “very busy helping poor people”.
”That day will stick with me for a very long time because she was just so blown away,.” she said.
Beryl said helping Vinnies helps people from all walks of life at Christmas time, people who have been struggling with poverty for some time and people who just need a little extra help at year’s end.
“We have this one lady who comes in for a hamper, she is an aged pensioner, she came in and said do you think I can get a hamper this Christmas because I’ve got my grandson living with me and I don’t have any money to be able to do anything different,” she said.
“We also had a young single dad come in, we see him a few times a year and help him with things like school supplies through the Children’s Education Fund, he came in just to check he was still on the Christmas hamper list.”
Beryl said another lady comes in every year a hamper.
“She is an aged pensioner, but she has about five or six grandchildren, she doesn’t have the money to buy them all a present, so when we do her hamper we do presents for her grandchildren so that she can give them to them on Christmas Day,” she said.
“We give so that they can give too.
“For many of them, it wasn’t for the hampers they get from us at Christmas there wouldn’t be any Christmas celebration at all.”
Beryl said helping people with Christmas hampers is “absolutely one of my favourite things to do as a Vincentian”
The Noosa community gets involved in the putting together of the Vinnes hampers, including the two schools in St Thomas Moore and St Theresa’s.
“This year we are doing a special luncheon the week before Christmas, a lot of the people that come are actually homeless, and so we are making up small special hampers,” Beryl said.
“You can’t give a homeless person a great big hamper as they have nowhere to put it or carry it.
“We are making up gift hampers, with toiletry packs and tins of biscuits and things they can eat or use fairly immediately, they are like mini hampers for the people that will come to our Christmas community meal,” she said. For how to help go to: