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Gift your time to Vinnies this Christmas

St Vincent de Paul store manager Mary Nugent and conference president Tony Hergenhan are putting the call out for more volunteers to assist in both the clothing and furniture departments of the Bega store.
Nanjing Night Net

AT THIS time of year there is a growing demand for assistance in the Bega district for people who are doing it tough, and meeting these needs often depends on volunteer assistance.

St Vincent de Paul in Bega has put the call out for more volunteers.

Currently the store has 36 active volunteers ranging in age from around 50 to 89.

Helping out in the centre involves sorting through boxes of clothing, stocking the store, conducting interviews for those who require food vouchers and assisting in the furniture section.

“We especially are in need of more male volunteers, with a good strong back, for the furniture section as we have only two at the moment and when one is away no deliveries can be made or items picked up as two men are needed on the truck,” store manager Mary Nugent said.

Volunteers can be as young as 14 and with the school holidays about to start, this presents an opportunity for young people to get involved.

“Volunteers can have as many days as they want as long as they are prepared to do at least 20 hours per week,” Ms Nugent said.

The Christmas period is often the busiest time of year for charitable organisations such as Vinnies.

But according to conference president Tony Hergenhan, there has been a noticeable increase in the need for assistance throughout the entire year in the Valley.

“This year has been a real struggle for a lot of families,” he said.

Immediate assistance in the form of food vouchers, especially for Christmas, are available as well as vouchers for electricity and phone bills.

“It is really a case by case situation…some people just get so behind in life, for whatever reason, and it can become a bit hopeless for them.

“We also often refer people to other local organisations for assistance for things like mental health issues.”

Mr Hergenhan said three to four interviews a day is the norm, but yesterday they had eight interviews before lunch.

“I think this is due to the increase in electricity bills and general cost of living, plus rent expenses, not only in town but also it seems the outlying areas seem to be on the rise.”

Donations from the community to make Christmas special for local disadvantaged families are always needed.

Toys and food items are packed into hampers and distributed to people in need.

Last year the organisation handed out 40 hampers locally, with the majority going to families.

Donations to any of the local charities for Christmas hampers are most welcome.

Gifts for teenagers are often overlooked so any donation suitable for this age bracket would be greatly appreciated.

For further information or to offer volunteer assistance at St Vincent de Paul phone 6491 8550.

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