This week, the Mini Vinnies students of Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Hoxton Park, participated in a Winter Sleepout to support the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society. As part of the Winter Appeal, students from across the school generously donated items to make up care packs and snack packs for the more vulnerable members in our community.

The Mini Vinnies Winter Sleepout aims to raise awareness as to the plight of the needy within our society. It provides students with an opportunity to find practical ways of providing help and support to those in need, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the works of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

St Vincent de Paul Society representative, Noel O’Donnell, joined students on the evening to share the importance of the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society and how the contributions of our school community support that work.

I was shocked at the amount of gifts donated by the families of the school community at Good Shepherd. Listening to the conversations of the students this evening highlighted how much they really think about the homeless. They really want to make a difference. I am very grateful for the work of the Mini Vinnies and the contributions of the community.

Students spent time making up the care packs and snack packs, exploring how they might budget for necessities across the week with only a minimum amount of money, and reflecting on what it may feel like to be without a home and regular meals. They also spent time in prayer together, praying for those in our communities that are less fortunate or in need of support.

Cathy Burke, Family Educator, commented

It was wonderful that our Mini Vinnies took to heart the message that our school tries to instill in them to be ‘nurturing disciples’. Our Winter Sleepout provides an opportunity for them to put this into action. It was clear that the students were touched by the generosity of the community with their donations.

Year 4 student, Anastasia, shared

I’m not going to complain anymore about the food I get for dinner. I am very lucky.

The many care packs and snack packs assembled on the evening will now be distributed by the St Vincent de Paul Society. A special blessing, included in each pack, will hopefully remind all of those that will receive a pack, that they are loved and cared for, even in these challenging times.

Special thanks also to our Religious Education Coordinator, Mr Whiteford, Parish Priest, Br Pat Hurley, school staff and parents for their contributions on the evening.