On the 8th of March, 1983, the Society of St Vincent de Paul ratified the existence of a new conference in Geelong. The Grovedale Conference came into being that day, with the leadership of Ray Tamassy (President), Clarrie Johnston (Vice President) and Charlie Bowman as Secretary/Treasurer and under the spiritual guidance of the Marist Sisters. Its first priority of work was to visit families in their own homes as this is the fundamental work of the Society, but always with the encouragement to take an active interest in any of the Special Works of the Society. The conference counted nine members in those initial days yet the work they did was that of many more. And that is still the case today as the Grovedale Conference relies on a membership of only eight volunteers.
From that beginning till fairly recently, the Grovedale Conference would support families in need in Torquay and beyond, but in 2012 a new Conference was established in Torquay. Now six years old the Torquay Conference relies on the work of 15 volunteers to service the needs of Torquay, Jan Juc, Bells Beach, Anglesea and now armstrong Creek. Grovedale continues to service the needs of Grovedale itself, Waurn Ponds, and Marshall as far as Boundary Road.
The aim of the Society is to help people who find themsleves in need of assistance whether it be with food, rent, utilities or other expenses. Everyone experiences times of difficulty and unfortunately some don't have the necessary resoures to get them through. There should never be any embarrassment in seeking help as we all need that at times. The motto of the St Vincent de Paul Society is to offer a 'hand up not a hand out'.
Some have found school books unaffordable; somehave had difficulties with medicines/prescription payments; others have had need of help in managing budgeting and finances, or may have neeeded help with legal advice and advocacy, whild others may simply need halp to clothe the family and provide furniture for them. Whatever assitance is needed, it will always be given without distinction of race, creed or political persuasion and will alwyas be offered in a caring and compassionate manner where privacy and confidentiality are always respected.
All of this wonderful work is able to be carried out because of the generosity of our parishioners, and others across Australia - those who make private financial donations; those who support the Vinnies Winter Appeal; the ones who support the Vinnies shops with their useable clothing and furniture items, and those who shop at Vinnies!
If you have not yet discovered the local Vinnies, why not vist them in Marshalltown Road
and see what bargains you can grab. And if you get there sometime on Friday November 17, you just might be offered a piece of birthday cake as they celebrate their third birthday!
Happy Birthday Vinnies.