Staff from St Mary’s Concord recently volunteered to assist the St Vincent de Paul ‘Brekky Van Program’. We had a very rewarding morning together; cooking for, and serving, those in need. The staff and family members that attended were: George Arcella, Leeann Arcella, Maree Arcella, Ben Nolan, Peter Vincent, Jenny Wallace, Samantha Williams, Linda Mudaliar, Vanessa Di Cecco and Josephine Colasuonno. Frank Clarke and Tim O’Donnell from the Catholic Education Office also attended.
On Friday afternoon, myself and two staff members shopped at Costco, purchasing sausages, bacon, eggs, bread, biscuits, and poppers that were to be stored overnight at school. A number of staff then met at 7:15am on Sunday morning, packed the cars and drove to Lewisham. From Lewisham we collected all the remaining items and packed the St Vinnie’s truck. We then drove into Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills at about 9am.
We initially served hot drinks and cereal, and cooked the sausages, bacon and eggs while this was going on. The serving of the food was mostly complete by 10:30am, leaving time to talk with the clients, many of whom had interesting stories to share and were very appreciative of our efforts. We left around 11am after feeding approximately 90-100 homeless people, mainly men. We kept in our minds the following scripture for the day. “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:26.
Overall, this was a very positive experience that was made all the better because we did it together as a staff. The staff that attended are all keen to do this again, and other staff that weren’t able to attend are also very keen to be involved the next time the group volunteers.
We were very capably led by Frank Clarke on the day, and Frank also leads us in our faith formation so it was great to share this experience with him in putting our faith into action (Open Hands).
St Mary’s are also connecting the students and parents in a number of ways, for our St Vinnie’s Winter Appeal. The children are donating ‘Cup a Soups’ which will go to the St Vinnie’s Night Patrol program and the Year 6 students are running a week of games and activities, donating the funds to the St Vincent de Paul Society.