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Give a hand up, not a hand out

WINTER is a good time to spare a thought for those people without adequate shelter, enough warm clothing and food. This season, the St Vincent de Paul Society will be called on more than ever to provide assistance and care to those unable to provide for themselves – the homeless, the sick, the unemployed and the marginalised. Established in 1965, the society is Western Australia’s largest charity with more than 3,500 volunteers who work tirelessly assisting over 5,000 individuals and families struggling each day with situations beyond their control, such as job losses, rising living costs, ill health and family breakdowns. The society needs support to continue its work visiting thousands of families in their homes each year to provide practical assistance or essential items. Other services include 43 retail centres, five low-cost food stores, Vincentcare and Passages Special Works programs which provide accommodation for people with mental illness, the homeless, those leaving institutional care and people living in sub-standard accommodation. Through the Young Vinnies program, young people also get a hand up too through kids’ camps, tutoring, school workshops, and detention centre visits. As well, St Vinnies provides migrant and refugee support, pregnancy support, alcohol and substance abuse support, disaster relief, and deals with social justice issues. Those interested in helping can make a start by donating spare cash to the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal, which has a focus this year on people experiencing homelessness due to issues such as breakdowns in the family, mental health issues and unemployment. Material assistance is also welcome too in the form of blankets, food, clothing and furnishings that will be given to families in need and the surplus put back into retail centres. Even torn clothing can be recycled and sold to companies as cleaning rags.

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