“We love Vinnies. We are very grateful. We want more families to know what they do, and that they can get help from them.”

Sameer and his family have received assistance from Vinnies through a variety of programs and services, and want to tell the community  about the impact the ‘knock on effect' can have on the lives of people in need in Canberra.

Arriving in Australia as refugees from Iraq, the family received assistance from Life Without Barriers Organisation, but when they started experiencing financial difficulties, heightened by an incredibly high energy bill they were struggling to pay, they were encouraged to contact Vinnies for help.

“Within days of making the call, two Vinnies members arrived at our house to help us,” said Sameer.

“They gave us food vouchers which was so helpful, because it meant the money we would pay for groceries we could instead use to pay the energy bill,” he said.

With the support provided the family was able to get on top of their bills, but to ensure they weren’t faced with the same situation again, the Vinnies members also referred them to the Home Energy Efficiency program.

“The Energy Efficiency program is funded by the ACT Government and supports low-income households to reduce their energy bills through practical measures such as draught-proofing,” said John Feint, President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

The Vinnies members also suggested the St Joe’s youth program might be beneficial for the family.

“The youth program helped my kids so much. It helped build their personalities, to become more independent and to make friends.”

“Even during the hardest days of COVID, the Vinnies volunteers made sure our children were engaged and entertained.”

Sameer’s children are very enthusiastic about the program, designed to provide activities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Every time we go to Vinnies we make friends,” said 8 year old Maryam.

“The support of the community has a knock on effect to all those we assist. Sameer’s family is just one of thousands Vinnies assists every year through our varied programs and individualised assistance.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our members, volunteers and donors. We encourage the community to get involved with our new campaign, the Vinnies Knock On Effect, and help us open doors to opportunity for those who turn to us for help,” said Mr Feint.

18 March 2021