Vinnies only worried about our wellbeing
“It’s often around Christmas and the start of the year that we need a little extra help. That’s when we get in touch with Vinnies.”
These are the words of 35-year-old Natasha*, who calls St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (Vinnies Victoria) once or twice a year for assistance with food and some bills. But our volunteers often deliver much more than the assistance for which a person asks.
When the president of Natasha’s local Vinnies’ conference, or volunteer group, Linda, heard that Natasha was pregnant, she called to see if Vinnies could help to set up the baby’s room.
“Linda helped with heaps of stuff for the new baby,” says Natasha. “I was only a few months pregnant at the time, but Linda started dropping off bits and pieces. Then as time went on, she dropped off the bigger items so I didn’t have to worry about trying to store it all until it was needed.”
Vinnies provided Natasha and her partner with a pram, a cot, a bouncer, a high chair, baby bath, clothes, nursing bag, nappies and Vinnies vouchers.
The couple, who also have older children, had been hit by the impact of COVID. Natasha was on JobSeeker at the time and her partner had just set up a new business as a concreter, but couldn’t work at many points during lockdown.
“Linda is such a beautiful lady and I’m so grateful to have her in my life,” says Natasha. “She rings me out of the blue and sends me messages. I send her photos of the baby, because she was there all through the pregnancy.
“She gave me lots of emotional support. She even visited the night I got home from the hospital with bubs!”
Bubs – or Charley – was born in February this year. “She’s a big girl now though,” says Natasha.
And that’s not where Vinnies’ stopped. “Our power went off after a recent outage and we lost the food in our fridge and freezer. Linda sent vouchers out straight away so we weren’t out of food.”
Natasha, who turned her life around after addiction issues more than 10 years ago, says that Vinnies has “never judged me”.
“The volunteers have only ever been worried about our wellbeing and the kids’ wellbeing,” she adds.
“Vinnies is great. If Vinnies wasn’t around, I don’t know what you would do, or who you could turn to. There really would be people in dire straits without Vinnies.”
*First name and stock image used to protect the person’s identity.