I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a “new” life once we reach our vaccination targets.
The last 18 months have brought us quite a few challenges. Conferences, shops, soup vans, education programs – members, volunteers and employees – have all had to “think outside the square” in order to continue our work. However no matter how hard we have found things, there have been many in the wider community who have done it even harder than us.
The plight of international students, stranded here, without part-time work to keep them going, has been particularly moving for me. To see them queueing just to get food to survive must move even the hardest hearts. On the flip side, the response to help them has been magnificent, including that of our own younger members. Many new groups have sprung up, and many businesses have provided meals free of charge. The resultant community spirit is something we should all cherish.
In early September we held our annual Ozanam Conversation. Hardly ‘annual” any longer, as we missed out in 2020 and hardly the “live” event we were hoping for and enjoyed in the past, as we moved to online. Nevertheless, the Ozanam Conversation was a chance to present our members with a challenge – “How can we do better in our relations with our First Nations’ people?” Our three guest speakers – Kevin Sheedy, Vicki Clark and Sherry Balcombe – did not let us down as they moved us out of our comfort zone to confront a history about which we are often ignorant. View this year's Ozanam Conversation
Then, in the midst of so many challenges, some great news.
The St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria successfully bid to be part of the State Government’s plan to build more social housing.
We are extremely pleased to be doing “our bit” in addressing one of the three basic requirements for anyone living in our privileged society. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a roof over their head, food on the table and the opportunity of employment. I am including here, for your interest, some of the details about where we will be involved.