St Vincent de Paul Society
Modbury Conference of St Vincent de Paul
There has been a conference of St Vincent de Paul in Modbury for over 31 years, operating entirely on a voluntary basis, and fulfilling a long Catholic history of tangible assistance to those in need.
We are one of ten conferences in the Northern Region, and there are ten regions in the state of South Australia plus the Migrant refugee Centre. Para Hills Conference is part of the Central Region. The Regional Presidents make up the State Board, and are supported by an office in Franklin Street.
As a conference, we maintain a “pantry” of non-perishable goods from which we pack hampers to take on home visits to those who have sought help through the assistance line 1300 729 202. We rely heavily on donations of such food in our basket from the weekly Mass attendees, but occasionally demand will result in some shopping being needed. This is supplemented by a freezer for margarine and donated bread and, and we also use a shed built on a government grant for storage of food “overflow” from the pantry cupboards when we receive a donation of collected food from local schools in the Winter Appeal and Christmas Appeal. The purchase of perishable goods is covered by giving a Foodland Gift Card or voucher.
The home visit is the Vinnies distinguishing characteristic in the range of organisations that provide emergency relief – we make an average of five home visits each week. The underlying concept is that the assistance being provided is a “Hand up, rather than a hand-out’ to cover a situation that needs emergency relief, e.g. where paying rent or a bill means going without food.
When we visit homes, always in pairs, we are also able to meet requests for clothing through Vinnies Gift Cards, and furniture which can be ordered from the warehouse at Wingfield. Rarely, we’ll provide some financial assistance toward a bill, on the condition that the once only payment is used to get into a bill smoothing program. Budget advice is also able to be provided.
Annually we provide a Christmas hamper on request and our working limit is usually around forty hampers.
Fund raising is largely from donations collected through the Winter and Christmas Appeals; The Society provides balancing funding from the proceeds from the Vinnies stores, the annual CEO Sleepout, and donations and bequests – there is no government funding.
The Conference meets every month on the second Thursday at 4pm. And the meeting is always open to visitors. New members are always very welcome. There is a prayerful component to each meeting with prayer and a Spiritual Reflection.