AT the heart of Orange’s Catholic community are its many volunteers who give their time to make life easier for others.
Yesterday, more than 130 St Vincent de Paul volunteers were thanked for their efforts this year, from those who work in the shop and welfare to those who distribute food through the Vinnies Van and work in the Vinnies cafe.
Father Paul Devitt says it is the volunteers’ strong sense of faith that drives them to work hard for others.
“We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our community,” he said.
Past president of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Orange Gillian Ferguson said it had been a hard year for many people to make ends meet.
“Particularly with electricity, gas and rent prices going up. We have found people coming to us for everything,” she said.
“Although we can’t give people cash, we can give them food and we say to them, use the money you would have spent on food to help pay your bills.
“But we do try to help them in other ways as well.”
Vinnies van co-ordinator Rosie Frecklington, who was back once again in the kitchen yesterday serving meals, says people are continually coming forward to work on the Vinnies Van, which distributes food in low socio-economic areas of Orange every fortnight.
“We have a waiting list for new people to train next year,” she said.
However, Mrs Ferguson said with so many people working full time, it was hard to find enough people to fill the roster at the St Vincent de Paul shop.
“We have about 100 volunteers, but we are all getting older,” she said.
“Some of the bags of donations are heavy to lift but we do have a few men to help.
“New volunteers would be welcome and you don’t have to be Catholic,” she said.
If you have some spare time and could volunteer in the shop or help with sorting clothes call the St Vincent de Paul office on 6362 2565.
The St Vincent de Paul office will be closed from Friday December 20 to January 6.