Vinnies never let me down
Vinnies Victoria’s shops pride themselves on selling quality pre-loved items and household products at prices affordable to all, but they offer their communities a great deal more. They work hand in hand with conferences to fund welfare programs that pay for food, fuel, medicine, utility bills, school costs and myriad other necessities for local people – which the following two stories illustrate beautifully.
Earlier this year, a woman on Phillip Island got in touch with her local newspaper, The Advertiser, because she wanted to publicly thank the “amazing team” at Vinnies Cowes for supporting her through five years of tough times.
Single mum ‘Bianca’ told the newspaper how she had turned to Vinnies after a bad family breakdown. “Vinnies helped me with my rent, with food … they kept me going.” She added that Vinnies had paid educational fees and for her son to attend a school camp.
She recalled how Vinnies had even helped with a roadside emergency.
“I was stuck visiting friends when my car broke down and I didn’t have enough money to pay for the repairs,” Bianca told The Advertiser. She needed to get home to pick up her kids, so she called Vinnies Cowes. Within a few hours, Vinnies had helped pay for the repairs and got her on the road again. She said this was only one example of the incredible support she had received. “Vinnies never let me down,” she said.
Bianca sent a big thank you in the newspaper to each of the volunteers by name.
“They’ve moved mountains for me. A lot of people feel ashamed that they have to ask for help and I was like that. But Vinnies volunteers don’t look down on you. They are lovely people who are out to help.”
Everyone at Vinnies Cowes was touched by Bianca’s efforts to thank the team.
Likewise, the volunteers at Vinnies Warragul showed what we are all about when they responded to a request posted on Vinnies Victoria’s Facebook page in April by the daughter of one of the shop’s regular customers, Elsa Rabin.
Before COVID-19 hit, Elsa visited the shop every week to buy novels, because she read four or five a week. However, when she had to go into quarantine due to health concerns, her daughter Lorraine, a NSW-based school teacher, asked Vinnies if she could pay for a “huge bag of books, and I mean huge,” over the phone that could be dropped to Elsa.
The Warragul team was of course keen to help. ‘Vollie’ Pam Dunlop went on a shopping spree on Elsa’s behalf handpicking titles of interest, and manager Lyn Parsonage dropped them at Elsa’s gate – all as a gift. Vinnies called Elsa to see how she liked the books. “I was so pleased with them,” she said. “I usually stick to the $1 titles, but they put in some expensive ones. The books will all get recycled again at Vinnies Warragul when I can return to the shop. I’m so grateful, the books have really helped during isolation.”
These stories illustrate how our Vinnies Shops go ‘beyond the call of duty’ to serve their community in vital ways, especially in difficult times. Every day, in every one of our 112 shops across Victoria, Vinnies are there to help.