St Vincent de Paul Society celebrates National Volunteer Week.

The State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Mr Mark Gaetani, said that National Volunteer
Week (May 16 – 22) is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the hundreds of volunteers who
make it possible for the Society to deliver its many programs to those in need in Tasmania.

“National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate volunteers, recognise their selfless work and the
positive impact they have in our communities; and to encourage others to volunteer. Vinnies’
volunteers are one of the organisation’s most extraordinary strengths. It is not a stretch to say that
Vinnies would not be where it is today without the support, input, and contributions of our
volunteers over the past 120-plus years in Tasmania,” Mr Gaetani said.

“As State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society it is a privilege to have the opportunity to
publicly acknowledge all volunteers across Tasmania; and to offer my personal appreciation and
thanks to every Vinnies volunteer who delivers our programs and services. From the volunteers who
man our Vinnies’ and Loui’s vans delivering food and hope every night – regardless of the weather
– to the volunteers who help run our 28 Vinnies shops across Tasmania, thank you. To our teams of
volunteers who are there for those in need in times of personal and financial crisis, thank you; and
to those volunteers who visit the elderly and the lonely to bring them comfort and joy, thank you.

“Thank you to every volunteer who has contributed their time to the Good Works of the St Vincent
de Paul Society, whether it is as a Conference Member, volunteering to deliver a specific program
or service to those in need, or assisting the organisation with fundraising activities to ensure we have
the financial resource to help the vulnerable and disenfranchised.

“The reason that volunteers are such a critical part of the success of the St Vincent de Paul Society
is because it is ingrained in our culture. Volunteering is part of the foundation – the fabric of the
Vinnies community. The Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old student,
Frederic Ozanam, who, with a group of friends, distributed bread and food to the poor. His legacy
is continued today in 153 countries by over 800,000 Members and millions of volunteers.

“Volunteers are more than a resource to help Vinnies deliver our programs and services. Rightly so,
volunteers open our eyes and make us think about the connection between volunteering and
contributing to our community where the need to assist the vulnerable is growing year-on-year.

“Volunteers are the way we connect with the community. They help us understand the challenges
faced by the people with whom they interact with and serve every day. Volunteers provide
different perspectives on often complex and granular issues in the local communities where they
live and work. Of equal importance, volunteering allows people to express themselves in different
ways, it gives many a sense of purpose, and makes them feel like they are part of a solution, which
of course they are.

“To me, as State President, all these aspects of volunteerism speak to having an organisational
culture where volunteers are integral to our work. The benefits they bring to Vinnies, as a charity
that exists to serve the community, are immense.

“As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, I hope we will all thank and celebrate our volunteers. I
also hope we will think about the many hundreds of Tasmanians Vinnies volunteers assist every day.
Perhaps by thinking about how we, as individuals, can improve their lives by, maybe, offering our
time and talents as volunteers,” Mr Gaetani said.

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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