St Vincent de Paul “Free Week” timed just right

This week the South Dunedin St Vincent de Paul Shop put no limit on what people can take.

“No one has gone over the top, they only took what they need”, St Vincent de Paul area president, Lynlea Forbes told CathNews.

“The generosity of people abounds”, she said.

Forbes told CathNews that because it is ‘Free Week’ even more people dropped in donations to give away and others, still give a donation when they take ‘free’ goods.

“People are truly amazing,” Forbes said.

The timing of a “Free Week” at the Vinnies shop in South Dunedin was spot on, St Vincent de Paul centre and pastoral co-ordinator Sarah Strang says.

The “Free Week” ran from Monday this week and finishes today.

After what was an “awful” year for many people due to the impact of Covid-19, the timing for the event was right, Strang says.

People are allowed to take as much as they like from the donated clothing, shoes, bedding, crockery, bric-a-brac, children’s books and toys. Most are good-quality items, says Strang.

A call was made to Dunedin’s Catholic primary schools to have a clean-out over the school holidays. The items people decided to give away were collected for the shop last week.

“Some of the things people have donated have been amazing — brand new things.”

Forbes says shoppers are being encouraged to help themselves to free juice and food for themselves or their children’s lunchboxes. Free cat food was also available.

She says Free Week is a way for the shop to give back to the community. It was “overwhelmed with generosity” over lockdown.

While some shoppers left with free items, others stopped by just for a chat with the volunteer staff.

Forbes says shop prices are usually $1 or under, which doesn’t allow the shop to make a profit. The sale of donated items only pays for the rent and power costs.

Shop volunteers often give items to people who can’t afford them.

St Vincent de Paul Centres and Shops aid the most vulnerable in the community. Members and volunteers assist to alleviate suffering and promote human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions.

In the 150 years since the Society has been in New Zealand, it has given practical assistance to thousands of people.


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