St. Vincent de Paul Society receives first of three Vinnies Vans from the Tasmanian Government.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society has officially taken delivery of the first of three promised food vans, paid for by a $165,000 grant from the Tasmanian Government.

The hand-over of the new Vinnies Van occurred in Devonport when the Deputy Premier and Minister for Community Services and Development, the Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, handed the keys to the St Vincent de Paul Society at an official launch. The new Vinnies Van will hit the road on Monday September 27; and will service the needs of people and families on the northwest coast.

St. Vincent de Paul Society CEO, Lara Alexander, said the Society is very grateful to the Tasmanian Government for funding three new Vinnies Vans over the next three years.

“Vinnies Vans help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Those who rely on Vinnies Vans range from children to older people and reflect a broad cross section of our community. During 2019-2020 Vinnies Vans served over 21,000 freshly made, nourishing meals, and countless cups of home-made hot soup, hot beverages, and cold drinks. Many of the meals supplied by Vinnies Vans become school meals for children living in poverty. The new vehicle and $60,000 per year for the next three years to purchase food and supplies will assist hundreds of disadvantaged families and individuals,” Mrs Alexander said.

“Of equally importance to providing food relief, our Vinnies Vans provide critical out-reach work to connect people to support services that can change lives and address the complex problems that lead to poverty, homelessness, and loneliness. Whether it be programs that build capacity, financial counselling, mental health or housing support, no interest loans, or the provision of clothes and other household items, the Society and Vinnies Vans are there to assist those in need.

“The Vinnies’ Loui’s Vans programme is run by a dedicated group of caring volunteers who prepare meals and hot drinks, which are then distributed to homeless and disadvantaged people, via five Vinnies Vans across Tasmania. This new van means, Vinnies will be able to assist more at-risk Tasmanians.

“We started with one Vinnies’ Loui’s Van over 25 years ago, which has grown to three vans covering the south. We also have a Vinnies Vans stationed in Launceston, and another on the north-west coast. In total, Vinnies operate five vans across the state on almost a nightly basis.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Community Services and Development said that he felt very privileged to launch and officially hand over the first of three vehicles funded by the Tasmanian Government.

“As the Minister for Community Services and Development and for Health and Mental Health and Wellbeing, it is with very great satisfaction that I am here to hand over the first part of our Government’s commitment to fund three new Vinnies Vans to augment their existing fleet of food vans operating across our state,” Minister Rockliff said.

“Due to the vital role of food vans in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our community, during the 2021 State Election, the Tasmanian Liberals committed $165,000 toward the purchase of three new vans. This was complemented by our Government’s commitment to increase funding for all food van services operating across Tasmania to $60,000 per year for the next three years.

“I would like to commend Vinnies Tasmania and all the wonderful volunteers who are involved in all aspects of your organisation for their commitment to the mission of the St Vincent de Paul Society – offering a ‘hand up’ to people in need who continue to be served with respect, hope and joy,” Minister Rockliff said.

The Vinnies Vans programme runs on generous donations and the commitment of many volunteers. To make a donation or to volunteer on a Vinnies van for as little as one evening a month, please contact the St Vincent de Paul Society Burnie office on (03) 6435 2323 or email burnie@vinniestas.org.au. For all donations, please call (03) 6333 0822.

MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.

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