St Vincent de Paul moves with the effects of devastation

St Vincent de Paul

Amid Cyclone Gabrielle’s devastating impact, a group of young volunteers emerged as unsung heroes.

Without the help of young people, St Vincent de Paul Napier would not have been able to respond so positively, reports the Catholic charity in its most recent national newsletter.

While the media focus has moved on, Cyclone Gabrielle’s devastation continues and St Vincent de Paul’s outreach is ongoing.

“Because it’s no longer on the News doesn’t mean Cyclone Gabrielle is over,” Julie, a Taradale resident, told CathNews.

Initially, the focus was clothing, food, possessions and personal necessities but now, as the community transitions into the recovery phase, the needs also change, reports the Church charity.

Focus change

As the needs change, St Vincent de Paul’s response changes to meet those needs.

St Vincent de Paul’s primary focus is now on aiding families and children displaced or emotionally affected by the cyclone.

Initially, Catholic schools in the region were reluctant to seek financial assistance from a special cyclone relief fund.

Children’s mental health

However, the increasing need for mental health support has become evident.

One school has reported a spike in anxiety levels among its students, highlighting the urgent need for professional counselling services, reports the Church’s social outreach.

In its newsletter, the St Vincent de Paul Society notes that at one primary school it supports, students are so traumatised by the cyclone that they never talked.

Encouragingly, the school reports positive changes.

This ongoing mental health assessment has been met with gratitude from the educational community.

Some families continue to be displaced, and others have lost their jobs due to the cyclone’s far-reaching impact.

The Society reports that while the need for food parcels has seen a decline, regular support activities such as providing uniforms and stationery continue.

Additional assistance has been extended for after-school care fees, transportation and special events like the Year 9 Big Day Out, which benefited 75 students.

Christian charity with community relationships

Through the Christian charity of its donors and volunteer members, St Vincent de Paul works to provide practical and effective help to those in need and promote human dignity, justice and self-sufficiency.

The Napier branch of St Vincent de Paul says that through its relationship with WHIT (Whatever It Takes), the outreach centre and its own work, the Society continues to deliver in accord with its values of generosity, compassion, empathy, responsiveness, advocacy, respect for people and respect for the environment.

  • Source: Supplied
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