“Vinnies has been a lifesaver for me”
Ray has seen more hard times than most. Having battled drug use, homelessness and family tragedy, the support of Vinnies has helped during his times of need.
Becoming a father to a son by the time he was 20, while also caring for the daughter of his then-partner, a decline in the relationship saw things take a turn for the worse.
“I experimented with drugs from school but it never got really out of hand until I lost custody of my son. After that I spent quite a number of years lounging between people’s houses before ending up on the streets,” Ray said.
During this time he had his first interaction with Vinnies.
“I learnt on the streets that I could get a food parcel and they would point me in the right direction – in many ways Vinnies has been a lifesaver for me.”
Ray managed to get back on his feet, staying clean for 15 years and reconnecting with his son. But after his daughter suicided, he spiralled back into drug use.
“It started with just dabbling, and the next thing I was stuck in a situation where I was getting so sick that I had to use it to function. I wasn’t trying to kill myself but it was the direction I was going,” Ray said.
“I knew my son was disappointed every day, and that felt terrible. Knowing that there were people out there that cared brought me back on the path to recovery.”
With the support of Vinnies, along with his family and professional medical support, Ray is now getting back on track.
“At Vinnies I can get real stuff which helps on the spot – a packet of cornflakes, tea, coffee, a bus fare, petrol money,” he said.
“If you’re below par income-wise, it really affects your morale. Vinnies representatives will turn up and unconditionally assist in whatever way they can.
“The visits aren’t just about getting vouchers, it’s about moral support where people are checking in and making sure that I’m OK - it’s just like catching up with some friends.”
Ray is optimistic about the next chapter of his life. It’s because of the generosity of our donors that he can look to the future, which will hopefully include returning to work as a labourer.
“I’m trying to maintain a healthy routine, eating-wise, sleeping-wise. I’m excited to get back into work.”
You can help someone like Ray keep their life on the right track with a donation today.
If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 for 24/7 support. For non-emergency support, you can also call Vinnies on 13 18 12 during business hours.