Winter Appeal

May 31st, 2018
Winter Appeal
Mount Barker college, St Francis de Sales, will be raising homelessness awareness and collecting items to donate through their winter appeal and sleep-out in partnership with Catholic charity St Vincent de Paul (Vinnies).

St Francis de Sales college is walking distance from the local Vinnies shop and that is where they formed a relationship with the volunteer run organisation.

Through the college’s ‘faith in action’ philosophy staff and students aim to maintain social justice and serve those in need through their Catholic identity.

“Community Service and social justice activities are very important for our college community – it helps strengthen relationships within our college and wider community,” Assistant Principal Oreste Farrugia said.

The college has already received blankets, clothes, toiletries and non-perishable tin foods for their winter appeal but have a goal of 5,000 items by end of Term 2.

“We have already received many donated items for the Vinnies Winter Appeal, which we are grateful for.

“We have given our students a goal of bringing at least one item to donate each week of the appeal, which gives them short term goals and keeps the appeal at the forefront of people's minds.

“We are collecting the items through our college house system.

“At the end of the appeal we will calculate the total number of items that each house has collected. These amounts will then be translated into points for each house on the college community-shield,” Oreste said.

Oreste encourages everyone from the wider community to donate goods to the appeal through placing items in the blue wheelie-bins at the college or through directly donating at the Vinnies shop.

“If people prefer to donate money to the Vinnies Winter Appeal, the easiest way to do it is to donate through our Principal Gavin McGlaughlin's, 'CEO Sleep-Out' fundraising link, which is,” he said.

Gavin will be participating in the CEO sleep-out on Thursday, July 21 to raise funds for the homeless.

“I completed the CEO sleep-out previously in 2014 when I raised $2,700, but I am determined to break the $3,000 mark this year.

“I think being involved in the sleep-out helps us realise how many people there are in need in our community who live rough every night, and how difficult that would be especially at this time of year.

“It gives us a very, very small taste of the challenges faced by the neediest in our community,” Gavin said.

Gavin is a firm believer in taking oneself out of one’s comfort zone.

“I think it’s important to take ourselves out of our comfort zone so we do not take for granted the great gifts of home, family and security that we have, and it provides us with the impetus to challenge everyone we know for donations that St Vincent de Paul will use to make a real and significant difference in the lives of many people.”

One of St Francis de Sales’ Year 8 students Sophie McCallum will take part in the college sleep-out on Thursday, June 14 as well as the winter appeal.

“I’m taking part in the sleep-out and winter appeal to raise awareness of homelessness and to get an idea of what it feels like to be homeless.

“I hope to learn more about the needs of our community and how we can make a difference – I would certainly recommend this to my peers because the bigger the group the bigger difference we can make,” Sophie said.

The college sleep-out will be attended by the students from the newly commissioned Vinnies Youth Group, as well as any Year 6-12 students who wish to participate.

The evening will begin with a shared meal at 6pm and include a variety of activities that raise awareness of the issue of homelessness and offer ideas and opportunities for easing the challenges that homeless people face.

The students and staff who participate in the sleep-out will sleep under one of the verandas at the College, in shelters they construct from cardboard boxes.

“We hope the students learn and realise just how fortunate and blessed we are to have the opportunities that we do in life.

We also wish for them to learn the value of serving others and the difference it really does make to the lives of those in need.

The sleep-out may also help the students to realise that we don't actually need all of the material possessions that we have to be truly happy – positive and loving relationships is what really matters,” Oreste said.

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