Ten year old Ethan Caffery Caragh has donated $200 to Vinnies Night Patrol, thanks to his collection of recyclable bottles.

This year, Ethan and his grandmother have been busily collecting bottles to take to the ‘Return-It’ bottle depots to recycle for 10c per bottle. After recycling 2000 bottles, Ethan had $200 which he chose to donate to the Night Patrol program, which he’d heard about at school.

Ethan attends St Clare’s of Assisi which has been a strong supporter of Vinnies over the last few years, donating generous collections to both the Winter Appeal and Christmas Appeal, and providing ongoing support to the Calwell Conference in their service to the local community.

The Night Patrol vans have also visited the school regularly, including at the Social Justice Day in May.

‘I wanted to donate to Night Patrol because I’d hate to imagine what it’s like living without a home,‘ said Ethan.

Vinnies runs two Night Patrol vans in Canberra. The vans go out 364 nights a year providing over 12,000 instances of support each year, through provision of food, warm drinks, jackets, sleeping bags and other items.

‘By donating the bottles, I knew that every 10c could make a difference. Every couple of weeks my Grandma and I would take our bottles to the local Vinnies collection centre. Sometimes the car was so packed I could barely fit in the car!’ said Ethan. 

‘My friends didn’t think my Grandma and I could raise this much money, so that inspired me to work harder to get more bottles. 

‘My Grandma and I were very proud of each other for raising this much money over 6 months,’ he said.

Erin MacArthur, Director of Community Engagement with the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, said, ‘We’re so grateful to Ethan, not just for his generous financial donation to Night Patrol, but for his empathy and compassion towards people doing it tough. It’s wonderful to see young people engaging with social issues in our community.

‘We are always grateful for all donations, large or small, financial or material, that allow us to continue providing food, warm items, and compassionate company to those at risk of, or experiencing homelessness in Canberra.’

Over 1500 people are experiencing homelessness nightly in the ACT. 22% of these people are aged 12-24.

Return-It depots can be found in 22 locations in the ACT, including 4 Vinnies locations*. People recycling eligible empty beverage containers can choose to keep the10c refund or donate to charity.

To support Night Patrol, and other programs designed for breaking the cycle of poverty, make a donation at www.vinnies.org.au/winterappeal or call 13 18 12.


*Vinnies Dickson, Vinnies Mitchell, Vinnies Belconnen and Vinnies Tuggeranong.


22 July 2019