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St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc.

Newsletter 235 February March 2008



Another tough year for rural Victoria While the fires and floods that devastated Gippsland and the north east in 2007 may be forgotten by many, those who were affected are still struggling to get on with their lives.

daunting task of squeezing family budgets even further to accommodate rising agricultural and business costs, mounting bank loans as well as seasonal costs, such as back-to-school expenses.

According to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, natural disasters such as floods and bush fires cause more than $1.14 billion in damage each year in Australia.

"In Victoria we are seeing everincreasing demand for assistance from people in disaster-affected areas, particularly those struggling with the burden of the drought," Gavin said.

Coupled with arguably the worst drought in history, rising interest rates, higher utility bills, food prices, grocery costs and petrol prices near $1.50 a litre, more rural families than ever are struggling to make ends meet. Recent data from the Victorian Council of Social Services has shown that Victorian families can expect to be out of pocket an extra $3,100 this year or over $60 a week.

"Depression, mental health issues, social isolation and suicide are the real effects of drought and natural disasters that so severely damage rural communities. "Over the past year alone, the Society has given more than one million dollars in assistance to people in drought-affected areas."

During January the Society launched a Disaster Appeal which will allow continuing help Gavin Dufty, Manager - Policy & for rural families who are in Research said farmers and desperate need. The communities that depend on organisation is urging people to agriculture to survive face the help their fellow Victorians.

Donations for the Disaster Appeal can be made online at or call 13 18 12

operation back pack Six year old, Ella with a back pack full of goodies.

During January the St Vincent de Paul Society and local communities worked together to assist students going back to school through Operation Back Pack. Operation Back Pack aimed at collecting enough school supplies to cater for at least 200 local students who were in need of assistance. Sponsored by Leader Community Newspapers and managed by Jones Lang LaSalle, the campaign involved customers donating goods at local shopping centres to assist students. Participating shopping centres included: z Barkly Square z Campbellfield Plaza z St Helena Marketplace and z Central West Shopping Centre The donated goods were greatly welcomed and we extend our thanks to everyone involved in assisting this campaign.



State President ’s Update BY JIM GREALISH Dear Fellow Vincentians, Volunteers and Supporters 2008 will be an important year for the Society in Australia and also for the Australian Church as a whole. From material already sent out from this office, and from the increasing activities evident in our parishes, you will be conscious that World Youth Day 2008 is rapidly approaching. I cannot emphasise too strongly that World Youth Day concerns all the Society. Our future as a Society depends on the success of this event. The next generation of members will be the World Youth Day participants. Three events in Melbourne prior to World Youth Day are being mounted by the Society as part of the overall celebrations. The World Youth Day Cross and Icon will be in the Melbourne Archdiocese in late April and early May. The organisers have allocated the Cross and Icon to the Society on Saturday evening, 3 May 2008. Full details of the event will be released shortly. Everyone is invited to participate in venerating the Cross, and also to a social event which will follow. The Society is deeply conscious of the honour of being granted a special time with the Cross and Icon. It is a sign of the regard in which the Archdiocese holds us. The annual Ozanam Lecture will take place this year at Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday 10 July 2008 at 3:00pm. The lecturer will be Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras. The Cardinal is an outstanding and inspiring speaker. Again, details of ticketing for this event will become available shortly. Following the Ozanam Lecture we will be holding a concert at Federation Square. We have engaged some class acts for this event and, in addition to welcoming all our members and volunteers, we will welcome many of the pilgrims who will be participating in the Days in the Diocese program. The general public will also be welcome. Between items we will be showing videos highlighting some of the Society's activities. So please come and celebrate these events. It is said that youth is a state of mind rather than numbers of years. Hopefully we will all show our support for our youth with our own enthusiasm and participation. Please enter these events in your diary now. With every good wish Jim Grealish

LOVE AND POLITICS The Revolutionary Frederic Ozanam

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW Copies of Dr John Honner’s “Love and Politics: The Revolutionary Frederic Ozanam” are available from the Society. Cost:

$10 (Members) $18.95 (non-Members)

Postage: 1-2 books - $4.50 3-5 books - $7.50 5 or more - POA Contact Pauline Cooper on 03 9895 5800 for more details and/or an order form.

Elizabeth Bond Archives The Elizabeth Bond Archives are now open every Thursday between 11am and 3pm to the Society’s membership, general public and researchers. The archives are located at: Level 3, 335 Flinders Lane Melbourne Phone 03 9620 5835

2008 Vincentian Retreats Has your conference/region made a time to rest and recharge this year? For information on Retreats in the Vincentian spirit: z Walking with Ozanam z Praying with Ozanam z Building the Kingdom the Reign of God Call Gordon Carter at Gerald Ward House on 03 9895 5836.

Anyone for Golf? The St Vincent de Paul Society’s fourth Annual Golf Day will be held on Sunday 13th April at the Sandringham Golf Course. The organising committee is seeking assistance in attracting additional sponsors and prizes. A great day of fun, exercise and, oh yeah, golf is assured for all those taking part. If you can assist or wish to participate please call Paula Salemme on 03 9895 5815.



VINCENTIANS OUT IN FORCE! On Saturday 17 November 2007 the Society’s Membership & Development manager, Frances Warren married Graham Annal at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mount Waverley. Vincentians from six different conferences attended the service including: (l to r) Sandra Walker, Brian Dalton, Elizabeth Scott, Paula Salemme, Mia Jensen, Evert Jensen, Frances Warren, Graham Annal, Sr Toni Matha, Bob Jeffs and Maree Jeffs. We need to note that the groom is not a Vincentian so, Frances, get to work!


P R E S I D E N T S C E L E B R AT E I N K E W Congratulations to Chris Fitzpatrick who recently celebrated 50 years as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Chris, a former president of Kew Conference, was joined by fellow past presidents’ Ron Ferrari and Carl McCarthy as well as current president Andrew Frost to celebrate this milestone. Chris’ name has now been added to the 50 years of Continuous Membership board at Gerald Ward House. Another special celebration is planned for 15 March 2008 when Kew Conference celebrates 100 years of service with a Mass and get together. W Back row: l-r Ron Ferrari and current President, Andrew Frost Front row: l-r Carl McCarthy and Chris Fitzpatrick

H E L P I N G O U R Y O U T H I N M I L L PA R K The Mill Park Conference last year presented two families with early Christmas gifts. As part of the “Help Our Youth” program, the conference received two new computers from Fullife Pharmacy which were then donated to two families with secondary school age children. Fullife Pharmacy is one of a growing number of pharmacies that is now involved with the “Help Our Youth” program. This is the third computer received from Fullife Pharmacy. To participate in the program, pharmacy customers simply place their dockets in the box provided and when a certain amount is reached, another computer becomes available. One of the recent recipients was Melissa, who has three school-age children. Melissa was extremely Conference President, Paul Spiteri and Social Justice member, grateful to receive a new computer especially as the Gayle Clendenning presented a certificate of appreciation to secondhand one they had had recently broken down. Fulllife Pharmarcy.



Congratulations... Society members and volunteers have once again been recognised in the Australia Day Honours. They include Norma Murphy who was named Greater Dandenong’s Citizen of the Year, Lorna Morris from Numurkah, Brenda and Michael Stewart from Bentleigh, Thelma Ryan from Berrigan and Eddy Davis from Mount Egerton. Ed. Apologies to anyone I’ve missed.

From the Editor... Dear Friends Recently I have received several obituaries for beloved members, volunteers and friends of the Society with the request for publication in Societynews. It is always sad to hear (and read) of the passing of people who are so loved within their conference, centre, parish and community. In each issue of Societynews we include “Prayers are requested for...”, which allows us the opportunity to remember deceased members, volunteers, family and friends. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, the inclusion of full obituaries in the newsletter is not possible. However, should you wish to submit detailed obituaries we will endeavour to forward them to the major newspapers for publication. Newspapers are happy to receive information on people within the community. They will require: z Text of up to 600 words provided in a MS Word document z Images of 300 dpi can be provided in a JPEG format z Contact details for the conference/centre so that details can be followed up and confirmed. The newspapers have also indicated that details should be forwarded as soon as possible due to the slight delay in publication. To all, we hope that in this way your dear friends and colleagues can be publicly acknowledged in the best way possible.

Blockies & Cockies day out Despite the heat of a very hot dry December day over 500 people turned out for the Blockies & Cockies Day Out held in Red Cliffs. An initiative of the CWA - Mildura and with the assistance of the Red Cliffs Conference this special day enabled over $60,000 worth of goods, gift cards and holidays to be distributed. VIPs who attended were John Arnold, Mayor of Mildura Rural City, local MP Peter Crisp and Labour MP Candy Broad who represented the Premier. Activities on the day included the continuous spinning wheel, haircuts, manicures, men’s health checks, a kids corner and Australian Idol

contestant Holly Weinert entertained the audience. Various community groups assisted throughout the day including: local churches and schools as well as the Rotary and Lions who manned the continuous barbeque, the RSL provided cuppas, while Worksafe, Beyond Blue, MADEC, Mallee Family Care and Aboriginal Liaison provided information and advice. Congratulations to all involved. Special mention to Maureen Pollock who instigated and was appointed the convenor of the day. Maureen put in an exceptional amount of time and energy to ensure a wonderful day was had by all who attended.

Prayers are requested for... Deceased Members Laurie Bruty Lewis Buhagiar Greg Counihan John Barbin Jim Donnellan Arthur Garrett Vin Grant Helen Guice Tim O’Callaghan Des O’Meara Frank Orders Jim Robinson Michael (Joe) Rogers Alex Timmer Wilma (Willy) Thistlethwaite Fr Patrick John Walsh Bill Zwagerman

St Thomas More Conference, Alfredton Thomastown West Conference Emergency Recovery Liaison Committee St Columba’s Conference, Ballarat North West Preston Conference Sacred Heart Conference, Casterton Founding member, Mooroopna Conference Sorrento Conference Springvale Conference Bulleen Conference Macleod Conference St Joseph’s/Holy Cross Conference Past President, Syndal Conference Newborough Conference & Vinnies Centre - Moe Maffra Conference PP, St Joseph’s Parish, Korumburra St Kieran’s Conference, Moe

Deceased Centre Volunteers, Family and Friends Jim Eaves Vinnies Centre - Heidelberg Heights Gerald Maddaford Vinnies Centre - Cranbourne Isobel Scott Sister of John Florence & Roma Hassed Alan Thompson Vinnies Centre - Cowes To ensure correct acknowledgements please forward any requests for prayers to Philip Mackey by phone on 03 9895 5837 or email

U P D AT E P U P P Y P O W E R AT O ’ M A R A Residents at O’Mara House look forward to Saturdays when volunteer Robyn Couch spreads joy by bringing volunteer pups, Lily and Winnie to visit and have a cuddle.


Fantastic effort Congratulations to all involved in the hard work to prepare for the official audit of our Home and Community Care (HACC) funded volunteer program run from Ozanam House. The program recruits, supports and manages the volunteers who are very much part of our community and service delivery at Ozanam House and the Ozanam Community Centre. The assessor has let us know that she was extremely impressed by the program and that we scored 20 out of 20, with a couple of areas receiving a commendable rating. Very special acknowledgement to Louise Augustinus who is the Volunteer Co-ordinator and who clearly runs a great program. Many thanks to Louise, Lisa Sammutt, the Ozanam House Manager, and to Abi Brooker, all of whom put in many hours of hard work in preparation for this audit, and thanks to the many others who also offered assistance. Fantastic effort everyone!

Photographs reproduced with the kind permission of the Traralgon Journal.

O'Mara House in Traralgon has recently welcomed several new additions to its community. Robyn Couch has generously agreed to volunteer her time to provide companionship to our residents with her two pet dogs, Lily and Winnie. Robyn visits every Saturday morning and brings Lily and Winnie along for the residents to enjoy a pat, cuddle or chat with. Her desire to provide pet therapy for others came about while she was suffering from depression and an injured arm. Robyn said that the companionship of her dogs can provide an emotional outlet for self-expression and can help provide a distraction from their own illness. She says that her dogs have the perfect temperament for interacting with the elderly. Her dogs are comfortable with strangers, sit happily at the resident's feet while they run their hands through their hair and pat their nose.

Already, our residents have formed special bonds with Lily, Winnie and Robyn and they look forward to their visits each week. Amanda Saul Activities/Music Therapist

Netty Horton General Manager Community Services St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services

What a win! St Anne's Hostel was the beneficiary of this year's Catholic Insurance office Christmas project and received a combination of donations, including: catered afternoon tea for staff; gifts for residents; many contributions of materials for activities and craft. Major donations from the project were two outdoor settings, a water feature, music system and reverse cycle portable air conditioner. What a win!!! Christmas Carols were an exceptional event at Bailly House. A plant was presented to the Ward family for their generous donation of the large screen television for the residents. A plaque signifying the donation was attached to the television on the night. Almost $1,000 was raised on the night from donations and the sale of arts and crafts.




It was just before the Christmas eve Mass when I had the pleasure of having a simple comment passed to me that gave me a sense of satisfaction as much as the actual action that it related to. I sat beside Meg, one of the youth who had helped prepare and deliver the Christmas hampers. I thanked her for her efforts earlier that day and she replied that it was ‘becoming a bit of a tradition'. It was only then that I paused and took the time to reflect on the efforts of the conference members and more so of the youth that had helped out on the day. A few years ago when I took on the conference presidency I had little idea of what I was in for. I expected that most of the day-to-day activities would continue without fuss as I knew I was part of a great team. What concerned me were the 'odd tasks', one of which was the Christmas hampers. Before becoming president I had only been involved in the delivery side of things and really had no idea how much work was involved in the whole process. It was a steep learning curve for me. Obviously any task is achievable with a committed group of workers and so I decided I needed to call on some special assistance, the youth of our parishes (Holy Spirit and St Mary's). I am a firm believer that no one is too young to be made aware of those in our community that live on the margins of society. Obviously one does not need to burden the very young with the social woes conference members face every time we make a home visit but as children hit

their teenage years the opportunity arises for them to experience some of this and, more importantly, do something about it. The plan was to get some of the local youth, including my teenage children, to assist with the Christmas hampers. The intention was to get them to assist with the hands-on packing of the hampers as well as going out on the delivery runs. The hands on component included sorting the vegetables, packing the boxes, writing the Christmas cards and loading the cars. The hamper deliveries are typically a quick hand over, it is rare that we stay more than a few minutes or get into detailed conversations. This, I believe, is an ideal situation for the youth to see the people we assist and the conditions they live in without the threat of a 'difficult' visit. So after just under three half hours of solid work we achieved the task of providing 35 hampers to the needy of Thornbury, a task that was made possible by the work of many, including the 10 youth who worked so hard. All I hope for now is that some of the 'tradition of helping others' continues into their futures. I hope that it is not just the tradition of helping out with the Christmas hampers but that these, and other like-minded youth, can make time in their adult years to commit time to making the plight of the needy less of a burden. Brendon Leverett President Thornbury Conference

Christmas toys for Leongatha Following a donation from Henegahn Chiropractic Clinic the Leongatha Conference received toys for distribution to disadvantaged families in the area. The clinic donated the takings from one day and decided to give something back to the community. Pictured l to r: Leongatha Conference members Angelina Polato and Philip Cohen, Toy World’s Kerry McLeod and Judy Kerville and the Heneghan family, Lorcan, son James and Michelle.


U P D AT E Vinnies Centres

PEARL’S TREASURE TROVE It was a day like any other or so the volunteers at the Vinnies Centre in Briar Hill thought. That was until Gretchen and Pearl Clark walked into the centre.

In Victoria the St Vincent de Paul Society now has 98 Vinnies Centres providing quality clothing, furniture and other affordable household items to the public.

"I'm a regular visitor to the Vinnies Centre and always happy to find some bargains," said Gretchen. "But once we walked in, Pearl had other ideas."

Recent changes include new centre’s being opened, relocations, refurbishments and even, tragically, the fire damage to two centres.

Pearl marvelled at the treasure trove of items available at the centre. She saw clothes, shoes, hats, toys and even a basket and, within seconds, the 3½ year old was playing dress-ups.

New Vinnies Centres The following centres have opened recently: z z


Centre volunteers were enthralled as Pearl put some high heel shoes on, grabbed a puppet and started playing.

Ballarat 60 Bridge Mall, Ballarat 3350 Carrum Downs 562 Frankston/Dandenong Rd Carrum Downs 3201 Hamlyn Heights 71-75 Vines Rd Hamlyn Heights 3215

"It was so much fun to watch. She found various items in the centre and decided to play," said Hennie Weir, Monday's centre co-ordinator. Luckily with the quick thinking of volunteers Trudi Aishia and Helen Horwood, this magical moment was captured for us all to share.

Volunteers Needed The following centres need volunteers: z z z

Daylesford 28 Howe St, Daylesford 3460 Kyneton 136 Mollison St, Kyneton 3444 Warburton 3381 Warburton Hwy Warburton 3799

If you have any extra time and would like to help at one of these centres, please call Stratton Hawes on 03 9895 5864.

Donations There have been record levels of donations to our centres during December and January. We wish to thank all staff and volunteers for their outstanding efforts in our centres. Likewise, we thank our donors who have provided a wide variety of items for resale in our centres. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated. With donations also comes the problem of rubbish dumping. Be assured that the Society is looking into effective and efficient ways of disposing of unwanted waste, including recycling.










Behind the scenes in Centres Administration there are a team of volunteers assisting Hazel Maynard and Stratton Hawes in their busy roles in developing the Volunteer Program. We thank each volunteer for bringing their expertise, skills and energy to the variety of tasks. Here’s how they help... Ann Downing was in the business of management recruitment with her late husband for many years. She provides administrative support to the team and sends out welcome letters to new volunteers. Anthony Tan has just completed his Masters in Information Technology and has been pivotal in setting up our current Centres Volunteer Register transforming the records to their present state. Paul Flanagan was a dentist in practice for many years. Producer of "Vinnies Voice" and helps with data entry and mail outs. Peter Ryan was a senior Public Servant for many years. Peter is a driving force in the rewriting of the Centres Procedures Manual and will also coordinate other projects. Richard Kelly was a journalist and is an expert on the English language. Don't cross swords with Richard when it comes to grammar! He researches and writes the feature articles for "Vinnies Voice". Jeremy Pascoe is an engineer who has been a management consultant for many years. Jeremy has added some very helpful features to our volunteer register and also helps with advice on transport.

U P D AT E Te l e C h o i c e s u p p o r t s V i n n i e s Calendar Dates z


Golf Day Sunday 12 April 2008 Sandringham Golf Course World Youth Day celebrations in Melbourne Cross and Icon Journey Saturday 3 May 2008 Venue to be confirmed Ozanam Lecture Thursday 10 July 2008, 3pm Melbourne Town Hall World Youth Day Concert Thursday 10 July 2008, 5pm Federation Square

Membership Info & Training Carlton Football Club players recently helped raise money to support the St Vincent de Paul Society, thanks to TeleChoice. Carlton players (pictured above l to r), Andrew Carrazzo, Heath Scotland, Eddie Beats and Richard Hadley were at TeleChoice’s Elizabeth Street shop meeting fans and signing autographs in exchange for a gold coin.

their favourite players for their mobile phone. We greatly appreciate the generous support from both TeleChoice and the Carlton Football Club. Three year old, Will with Richard Hadley.

The gold coin donations were then matched dollar for dollar by TeleChoice and the proceeds were donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society's Christmas Appeal. The Carlton football stars also assisted TeleChoice staff behind the counter signing footballs, caps and tshirts. Fans were also able to get a unique voice recording from one of

St o p P r e s s . . . St o p P r e s s . . . Former Victorian State President, Syd Tutton was elected National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society on 1 March 2008. Syd has been an active member of the Society for 36 years and assumes the role previously held by John Meahan. "We must always be a strong and fearless voice for the poor," Syd said. “We are committed to a reinvigoration of the Society, especially with respect to the active involvement of young people.”

Regions and conferences requiring resource material should contact the Membership & Development team on 03 9895 5837. Training sessions on a variety of topics are held regularly by the Membership & Development team. For more information or a brochure call them on 03 9895 5837.

Annual Report The 2006-2007 Annual Report and Financial Report are available. We recommend that the Annual Report be distributed widely through your local networks and within your community. Copies of the report are available for pick up, please contact us on 03 9895 5800 to arrange quantities required. Contributions to Societynews are always welcome. Email to: or send to: The Editor Societynews St Vincent de Paul Society Locked Bag 4800 Box Hill Vic 3128 Phone: 03 9895 5800 Fax: 03 9895 5850 We endeavour to include as many items as possible in each issue.

Societynews - 2008 February-March  
Societynews - 2008 February-March  

Societynews is a bi-monthly newsletter for members, volunteers and supporters of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria highlighting act...