How your school can work with Vinnies

Schools, Kindergartens and Child Care Centres are such important partners to Vinnies, we are so grateful for the work that they do for us. The many donations of clothing, food, money and other essential items enable us to help families in need across South Australia. You have all been very creative in the ways you have assisted us ranging from;

• Fundraising activities such as bake sales, casual days etc

• Cooking and preparing food on site at school to feed the homeless and hungry at Fred’s Van and the Vinnies Women’s and Men’s Crisis Centres.

• Cooking BBQ lunches and breakfasts at the Vinnies Men’s Crisis Centre.

• Collecting non-perishable and long shelf life food for us to give to those in need.

• Collecting toiletries, clothing and personal items for the men, women and children in our Crisis Centres.

• Collecting items for the men, women and children receiving support from the Migrant and Refugee Centre.

• Collecting toys and gifts for the Christmas appeal.

Schools are always coming up with innovative ways to raise funds, collect items and connect with the Society and the people we support. The great thing about all this work is that children feel empowered knowing that they are making a difference to people in their community who are suffering from real disadvantage and hardship. They have the power to change lives through their actions and bring hope.

There is always an opportunity to teach children and young people about poverty, charity and philanthropy and how to be socially responsible in an increasingly self focused world. Understanding the causes of poverty and developing a deeper understanding of issues that impact our community are a very important part of our Schools and Community Engagement Officer’s role. We attend Schools, Kindergartens and Child Care Centres to give presentations and run workshops on a number of issues including;

• Poverty

• Charity and philanthropy

• Volunteering

• Social Justice

• The social issues that impact on society such as homelessness and domestic violence (for older students)

• The support services and programs offered by Vinnies in SA and why people turn to us for help. We can tailor a presentation around any theme to fit in with your curriculum or teachings. 

Please contact Jayne to discuss how we can work together.

School BBQ

Jayne Shortt
Schools and Community Engagement Officer
Telephone: 8112 8719




Vinnies Principal Sleepout


After 10 successful CEO and hundreds of School Sleepouts, 2019 was the year we held the Inaugural Principal Sleepout. Held on a cold night in November, 19 School leaders swapped their comfortable beds for a night outside with just cardboard and a sleeping bag. Fred’s Van served an evening meal of sausages and soup, the same meal that was served to the homeless and hungry of Adelaide that night (pictured).

The evening provided a unique opportunity for the Principals to experience what hundreds of South Australians do on any given night. They worked with their schools, friends and families to raise more than $42,000 to support Vinnies homelessness services. The event was such a success that we are holding it again in 2020 - August is proposed, but stay tuned for the exact date and more information.......... Email Jayne to express your interest and to be kept up to date as the planning starts for the 2020 event.

Here is some feedback from those who took part;

‘I have a much greater insight and awareness of the complex and daunting issues faced - both by those who are homeless and/or living in poverty, and by the broader community in responding to the ever present need’

‘Very lucky to have the life I do’

‘Humbled to be able to experience what others have to do daily’

‘(I am) Sore! It is an uncomfortable experience and we were in a safe environment. It makes you really stop and think how terrifying it must be for those who are left with no other choice’

Thank you to everyone involved








Host a Vinnies Sleepout                                                                                                          


There are more than 116,000 Australians who find themselves homeless every night. Just under half of these are women and a quarter are children. The Vinnies Sleepout allows students and school communities to experience a glimpse of the realities of homelessness on a personal level by ‘sleeping rough’ for one night. The Sleepout encourages participants to gain a deeper understanding of homelessness, raise awareness of the realities faced by those experiencing homelessness, and raise funds to support Vinnies homelessness services in SA.

More than 40 schools and Child Care Centres held Sleepouts in 2019, raising over $93,000 - AMAZING!! We can create a free fundraising page so students and staff can gain sponsorship from family and friends to give up their warm and comfortable bed for the night. Alternatively you can use your event to collect items, rather than money, such as beanies, warm socks, toiletries, blankets etc which we can give to those experiencing homelessness.

Sleepouts need to be held at school, but don’t have to be outside or for a full night if it doesn’t suit. Hosting a sleepout will:

• Encourage students to connect with a current big issue in our community.

• Challenge your community to raise funds and make a difference through social justice.

• Allow your community to advocate for people in need.

• Raise awareness of homelessness and break down stereotypes .

• Bring staff and students together with a united cause that benefits the community.

Click here to download a Sleepout Kit. 


Mini Vinnies and High School Conference

Our Mini Vinnies program is designed for primary school children. By connecting their beliefs and values with service activities and issues in their community, they can help to make their faith real, meaningful and relevant.

High School Conferences are open to secondary level students. They offer students a range of benefits, outlined above, but they also offer benefits to schools. Conferences forge pathways to the wider community, foster greater awareness of social justice issues, provide publicity opportunities, help students develop leadership skills through fundraising projects, make a positive difference in the school community and provide pathways for graduating students to enter young adult conferences.

Appeals - Winter and Christmas


Vinnies hold two appeals per year – winter and Christmas.
The focus of the winter appeal focus is to collect warm clothing, blankets and canned food to be distrusted to the community. We can supply winter appeal posters which can be posted around the school to raise awareness of the campaign. Schools can hold a winter clothing, blanket and food drive and we can supply clothing bins and collect them at the conclusion of the event.

The Christmas appeal focus is on collecting toys and vouchers to be distributed by Vinnies at Christmas to those who may otherwise miss out.  Schools can have a wishing tree for students and staff to donate toys and non-perishable food and Christmas goodies for inclusion in Christmas hampers.

Schools can have a white donation bin in the school on a permanent basis as a place for collection of clothing, blankets and household items.  The bin is collected free of charge on a regular basis.  

Guest speakers from Vinnies

Vinnies staff and/or volunteers can attend schools to cover a range of topics including;

  • Social justice
  • The history, work, values and mission of St Vincent de Paul Society
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Social justice
  • Volunteering
  • The importance of fundraising and philanthropy
  • Faith in action
  • Winter appeal
  • Christmas appeal
  • Migrants and Refugees

Presentations can be done as workshops, at assemblies or to small groups or classes. Vinnies can also engage with school staff via staff meetings and professional development days.