Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News - Story and photo by Carmel Lid­dell

There is a le­gion of un­sung heroes in our midst. Its mem­bers are not as nu­mer­ous as the ‘ladies in black’, and no-one’s made a movie about them, but they are in re­tail. Re­cy­cling, is their busi­ness. More­over, way be­fore the phrase was coined, they’ve been ‘en­vi­ron­men­tally aware’. Their blue and white ‘hands’ logo sym­bol­ises good­will and their slo­gan is ‘Good Works’. Who are they? I’m re­fer­ring to the mul­ti­tude of St Vin­cent de Paul vol­un­teers who proudly wear a Vin­nie’s apron: The Ladies (and Blokes) in Blue.

The St Vin­cent de Paul So­ci­ety was founded in 1833 by 20 year old Parisian stu­dent, Fred­eric Ozanam. Since then, this lay Catholic or­ga­ni­za­tion has spread world­wide and con­tin­ues to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple, re­gard­less of their cul­tural, re­li­gious or po­lit­i­cal be­liefs. How? The So­ci­ety ‘res­cues’ do­nated items; sells them at low prices through Vin­nies stores; then uses the rev­enue to fund com­mu­nity ser­vices and pro­grammes. Res­cue, re-sell and re-use. Re-cy­cling at its best. Beaver­ing away in 630 stores through­out Aus­tralia, 58,000 Vin­nie’s vol­un­teers are do­ing good works in their lo­cal ar­eas. Mon­day’s team at Vin­nie’s in Baulkham Hills, con­sists of Dale, Mary, Cather­ine and Suzanna. This band of Hills res­i­dents has been vol­un­teer­ing for a long time; Dale and Suzanna for 9 years, Cather­ine 5, and Mary 2. Ev­ery week they don their blue aprons and set about un­pack­ing, tidy­ing - and sell­ing - Vin­nie’s range of pre-loved ac­ces­sories, home­wares, books, fur­ni­ture, CD’s and DVDs etc. Racks of cloth­ing (ex­clu­sive, one off dona­tions) oc­cupy half their floor space and as in any Aladdin’s cave, there are gems to be found!

As ever, dona­tions re­main the cor­ner­stone of Vin­nie’s good works so, if you’re hold­ing fast to things which never see the light of day, set them free! What about the out­fit that’s just too -

what­ever? And the killer shoes not worn be­cause they re­ally are - killers?) Do­nate those pre-loved items to Vin­nies! Re­claim your stor­age space and gen­er­ate good­will! If you loved those things, some­one else would love to love them too. And in the words of Frank Si­na­tra’s 1960 song, ‘… Love is just as lovely, the sec­ond time around.’

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