Kristy Huang started volunteering for the Vinnies Doorknock Appeal five years ago, after she graduated from studying accounting at University of Canberra.

Her past lecturer, Mark Hughes, had encouraged her to participate as a way to get to know people, and learn a bit more about Aussie culture.

“It’s actually quite fun,” said Kristy.

“Not only are you doing something for other people, but there is a mutual benefit. For some people it’s fitness, for some it’s friendship, for me it’s a challenge. So it’s good to raise money for a good cause, but it’s not one-way. We get something out of it too.

 “We walk around, and get to know each other and start to develop a network.

We organise meet ups, and every year there are new people joining our little community. Also, our co-ordinator’s wife puts on an amazing afternoon tea. 

You can’t say no to good food!

 “We have a bit of a friendly competition about who can raise the most money. Mark always wins,” said Kristy.

Mark has been doorknocking for about eight years and has always encouraged, mostly international, ex-students to get involved.

 “This is a good networking opportunity for this group of people who are fairly new to Australia.

We’ve established quite a group who come back each year to help. Some have moved away, but if they’re in town they’ll join in,” said Mark.

 “It’s good for community. You make face to face connections, and it’s actually uplifting.

 “Not everyone wants to donate, but they’ll offer water on a hot day, or have a chat. A lot of people are really happy to see us,” said Mark.

The Vinnies February Doorknock Appeal has been running for over 32 years and is successful because of the dedicated volunteers who donate their time each year, and the generosity of the Canberra community.

Last year’s Appeal raised more than $281,000 which enabled the Society to continue to provide support to disadvantaged people.

Each year the Society provides over $2 million worth of assistance to over 40,000 people in the Canberra/Goulburn region. 

Each year Vinnies puts a call out to the community for volunteers. Last year they had over 1,400 people doorknocking and covered 54% percent of Canberra households. This year the aim is to cover 70% and therefore 1,800 volunteers are needed.

The Vinnies Doorknock Appeal runs for the month of February in Canberra and Jerrabomberra.

To volunteer please email doorknock@svdp-cg.org.au. Or to donate, visit any Canberra Vinnies shop, call 13 18 12 or via vinnies.org.au/doorknock.

Thursday 7 February 2019