Tak­ing time to give back

North Taranaki Midweek - - GARDENING - DEENA COSTER

The fu­ture of a char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion that has been help­ing the poor and needy for 150 years looks bright if the ev­ery­day ef­forts of a group of Taranaki school­child­ren are any­thing to go by.

This year marks 150 years since the The So­ci­ety of St Vin­cent de Paul was es­tab­lished in New Zealand. As a global or­gan­i­sa­tion, about 800,000 mem­bers work to help 30 mil­lion needy peo­ple.

Join­ing this vol­un­tary ef­fort is the work of about 40 school­child­ren from St Joseph’s Catholic School in New Ply­mouth.

They give up their time at morn­ing tea and lunch to raise money for the char­ity, in­clud­ing run­ning cake stalls and mufti days.

Known as The Young Vin­nies, the group raises on av­er­age about $2000 a year.

Mem­ber Hugo Chylek-Peters said the group had re­cently helped out at the Food­bank, pack­ing up gro­ceries to give out to peo­ple.

While it felt good to help, the 11-year-old said it had been sad to see peo­ple who strug­gled.

‘‘It makes me ap­pre­ci­ate what I have,’’ he said.

The feel-good fac­tor was also high for Lo­gan Chant, 11, who didn’t mind giv­ing up his play­time for the greater good.

‘‘I re­ally en­joy help­ing out oth­ers around the world,’’ he said.

There are six St Vin­cent de Paul groups, known as con­fer­ences, in Taranaki, the ear­li­est of which was es­tab­lished within St Joseph’s in New Ply­mouth in 1908.

Every year, the char­ity helps hun­dreds of peo­ple around the re­gion, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing hot meals, help with med­i­cal costs and as­sis­tance to pay the power or phone bill.

Money raised by the Young Vin­nies, along with prof­its from the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Fitzroy based op shop, help it carry out its char­i­ta­ble works.

Bob Goodyear, who is part of the St Joseph’s New Ply­mouth con­fer­ence, said along with the Young Vin­nies group at St Joseph’s school, an­other branch has re­cently been set up at Sa­cred Heart Girl’s Col­lege.

A youth wing in Strat­ford is also in op­er­a­tion.

He said a lo­cal cel­e­bra­tion to mark the 150th an­niver­sary would be held at St Joseph’s Church Hall in New Ply­mouth on Oc­to­ber 1 at 12pm. The oc­ca­sion is open for mem­bers, vol­un­teers and any­one who was for­merly part of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

A na­tional cel­e­bra­tion is also planned in Christchurch between Oc­to­ber 13-15.

GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

The Young Vin­nies from St Joseph’s School in New Ply­mouth; back, from left Ridge Court, 10, Hugo Chylek-Peters, 11, Max Bowe, 11 and Bray­den Hughes, 11. Seated in front, from left Maia Toss,10, Keita Simp­son, 10, Olivia Perry, 10 and Lo­gan Chant,11.

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