Schools rebuilding strength this Christmas with the Vinnies Train

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Students from Our Lady of Mount Carmel excitedly pack gifts onto the train. Photo: Supplied
Students from Our Lady of Mount Carmel excitedly pack gifts onto the train. Photo: Supplied

Have you been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Vinnies Train? The Vinnies Train was designed and built by volunteer parents from St Therese Catholic Primary School, Mascot, in June this year.

The train’s inaugural appearance was at the Mini Vinnies Gathering at ACU, Strathfield, in July, where students from across Sydney came to learn more about the St Vincent de Paul Society. Mary Musolino, Sydney Archdiocese Schools Liaison Officer, explained the purpose of the train, “Each carriage represents a different Vinnies Specialised Service such as crisis accommodation centres or local day program centres.”

The train has slowly made its way to Mt Pritchard where it is now stationed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School. Here it is patiently waiting while the school community plans how to best support Vinnies and its Christmas Appeal.

The school will work with the Society’s Liverpool Region Client Support Officer and local Conferences to gather information on what donations they need this Christmas, such as hampers and gifts, to support local families. The school community will then have a drive to collect these items to be placed in the Vinnies Train.

“I’m excited that each Year group at the school will learn about particular services offered by Sydney Vinnies and will be given the opportunity to choose which Specialised Service they would like to support as part of their Christmas Appeal donation drive” said Mary.
Students will learn about Vinnies services such as:

• Mary MacKillop Outreach
Centre, Haberfield;
• Como Social and Leisure Centre;
• Margaret House Respite Care, Gymea;
• Sydney Vinnies Van Services; and
• Accommodation services.

We anticipate that the Vinnies Train will be the envy of Santa’s sleigh by the time it leaves Our Lady of Mount Carmel and reaches St Therese Catholic Primary School at Sadleir-Miller. This school community recently held a Pyjama Day to raise funds to purchase items for the newly renovated Marian Centre– a crisis accommodation and case management service for women with children.

They raised an impressive $520 to be used to purchase bed linen and towels for families at the service. The train will then move on to St Charbel’s College, Punchbowl. Here, students will donate a gift for a child, a similar age to themselves, whose family is experiencing financial hardship or homelessness, just like Anna and her family.

Anna’s journey is one of sheer courage and resilience. After fleeing an abusive relationship with her two young children, she faced the grim reality of being homeless. Despite her bravery, Anna faced a life-defining decision; give up custody of her children, or find an appropriate home. It was at this moment that Anna found courage to reach out to Vinnies for help. Once Anna had made contact with Vinnies we were able to provide ongoing assistance to the family, helping them to find affordable accommodation and supporting them to rebuild their lives.

If you are involved with a Sydney school and would like to help us Rebuild Strength this Christmas then please get in touch with our Schools Liaison Officer, Mary Musolino, on [email protected] or 0408 622 294.

This content was supplied by the St Vincent De Paul Society