National Volunteers Week (NVW) is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers. From May 15-21, 2023 NVW is a chance for all of us to celebrate and recognise the vital work of volunteers and to say thank you and this includes people in our parishes and agencies.
The theme for NVW 2023 is We are the Change Makers. Millions of volunteers across Australia are giving their time and energy to make change in our communities. The We are the Change Makers campaign celebrates the powerful impact volunteers make supporting individuals, communities and the nation.
The Volunteering Australia website has National Volunteer Week resources, certificates of appreciation, volunteer thank you gifts and merchandise available.
A reflection on the wonderful volunteers of Vinnies:
The St Vincent de Paul Society, also know as Vinnies, is a lay Catholic charity that has been helping Australians for almost 165 years.
In Ballarat we have five different groups or conferences as well as a Young Vinnies conference based at the Australian Catholic University.
We at the St Patrick’s Cathedral Conference help clients in many ways. At our assistance centre we can help up to 120-150 clients a week over three days and our assistance includes food vouchers, bill and utilities assistance, paying registration and licences, picking up and delivering furniture, among other things. We are finding the need for this assistance is increasing and our members are a very dedicated group of men and women who all follow the same ideal of “a hand up, not a hand out.”
We are dependent on volunteers who willingly offer up much of their free time to assist in this work, as we receive no government funding at all, and we can only continue the work we do if we continue to receive donations from our Catholic parishioners, clergy, schools and organisations.
Many volunteers all agree that the satisfaction they get from helping the less fortunate and needy, many of these unwillingly thrust into this situation, is the greatest reward for their work.
We are always looking out for new volunteers, as the nature of what we do and when we do it means we are an ageing force. Younger volunteers are what is needed to continue on this work and whilst the Young Vinnies can boast a young membership, we still seek young volunteers who of course will be the future “heavy lifters” of our Society and Conferences.
Kevin Elliott – Cathedral Vinnies
Prayer for Volunteers
We pray for all those who volunteer in our parishes.
May we value the many talents and gifts
that God has given to these people.
We thank them for generously offering
their time to parish ministries.
For all these gifts, given out of your love,
we thank you, God of all goodness.