Today Show ‘hero’ donates $10,000 prize to Vinnies

22 June 2020

‘Local hero’ winner Tony Cranney (right) donated his $10,000 prize to Vinnies Gymea Conference President and Sutherland Regional Council Vice President Frank Tierney.

Sutherland Shire plumber Tony Cranney has donated his $10,000 ‘Local Hero’ prize from Channel 9’s Today Show to help Vinnies services in his local community. He has also issued a heartfelt plea for businesses and individuals to join him at this “most challenging time for our charities”.

Mr Cranney said, “Codid-19 restrictions have resulted in job loss, social isolation and so on, and charities such as Vinnies have seen a significant reduction in the funds available for their vital work.

“Winter is now upon us, and families are doing it tough, with homelessness just around the corner for many people living week to week on low wages or benefits.”

Tony Cranney was one of the four recent winners of a ‘Local Hero’ award sponsored by Suncorp, through Channel 9. He was recognised for his extensive community work, including being a Vinnies member for over 30 years. He is currently the charity’s Oyster Bay Conference President, Sutherland Regional President and the President of Vinnies Sydney Diocese.

Last December his kindness extended to donating one of his kidneys to help save the life of a plumber mate.

Tony Cranney hopes to encourage substantial support from local businesses and individuals to help fund the work of Vinnies Conferences, ten of which are active in the Sutherland Shire, with others in the St George District.

“Vinnies Conferences are our volunteer-run social support services that help families and individuals doing it tough,” he said. “This assistance includes providing emergency food hampers and supermarket cards to ensure people have healthy food, assistance and advice on housing problems, help to people facing family violence, and much more.”

This financial year Vinnies Gymea Conference has provided $50,000 worth of assistance to 90 people, the majority aged over 40 years. The Oyster Bay Conference has provided $50,000 worth of assistance to 88 people, with around one-third over 60 years. Nearly half of all requests for assistance from both Conferences were food-related, with people often forced to prioritise paying rent and other bills for fear of being evicted and becoming homeless.

“This places great pressure on families, especially those with young children, which is why Vinnies help is so important,” Tony Cranney said.

Donations to Vinnies work in local communities can be made at phone 13 18 12 or www.vinnies.org.au/donate