Pupils boost supplies at Vinnies foodbank

Young Vinnies Club members of St Joseph's School with their food donations.

St Joseph’s School pupils have been helping to boost the diminishing supplies of the St Vincent de Paul food bank ahead of this Monday night’s Toot for Tucker.

Toot for Tucker collection starts from 6pm, but people are encouraged to put their bagged grocery items at the gate from 5pm, to avoid being missed by volunteer collectors.

Donated food from the food drive will be split between Ashburton’s charity food banks, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army and Presbyterian Support.

Young Vinnies Club members from St Joseph’s School, as well as pupils from Kea 9, took grocery items to St Vincent de Paul last week after organising a fundraiser and a disco event.

St Joseph’s pupils Eliza and Lulu said two groups of 16 pupils made up the Young Vinnies Club per year, each group serving two terms.

The girls have been club members for the past two terms. They are supported by Mary Kitchen, of St Vincent de Paul Society, who co-ordinates Young Vinnies in schools.

“At school we do multiple fundraisers each year and for some of them we ask people to come with a gold coin or food.

“This time we asked school students to bring some food to fill the shelves at St Vincent de Paul in response to the fact shelves were getting emptied as demand increased.

“We got quite a few things like baked beans, spaghetti, rice, rice risotto, cereals and canned fruit.

“We are really thankful for the school community and the parents for donating. It is greatly appreciated and very humbling to have that level of generosity shown.

“This term our virtue is generosity. Our big focus has also been using our gifts and talents to help others.”

The Young Vinnies then walked the food from the school to the charity shop on Victoria Street.

“There were so many items it took 19 people to walk it all there,” they said.

The Kea 9 pupils who ran the disco charged pupils an item of food to enter, which was also donated to the charity.

“We often do a fundraiser for St Vincent de Paul but it is not an annual thing – it is often a response if St Vincent De Paul or a different charity needs help,” the girls said.

Past support had included fundraisers, visiting old people’s home, Meals on Wheels or volunteering for different things such as gardening at the church, visiting the fire brigade to learn about volunteering, supporting Father Huynh with his water purification mission for his home country, Red Heart Day, Children’s Cancer Society, or Covid Respond for India to help raise money to send for hand sanitizing equipment.

The Young Vinnies next social action activity is for Loud Shirt Day on December 3 supporting children with hearing difficulties.