Jan Lang, Ewingsdale
Regarding your article Byron Vinnies’ vollies exit. As a Byron ‘vollie’ of ten years who continues to volunteer, it seems the silent victims of this story are people who regularly seek charitable assistance from the Byron Bay St Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Conference and the Conference members who see them every week. I’m concerned that now those in need may not feel they can seek assistance from our Conference. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Conference members work quietly in the background, doing the core charitable work of the St Vincent de Paul Society. These generous souls, both Catholic and non-Catholic, volunteer their time to help the most vulnerable in the community.
People are usually referred by Centrelink, or through the shop. The shop exists solely to raise money for the charitable works of the SVDP society. Although Catholic in origin, people of all or no religion volunteer for SVDP. The Catholic Church receives none of the revenue raised by the society. All revenue raised goes back into the local community or helps with the charitable works of the society.
The current management restructure of St Vincent de Paul retail shops was inevitable and long overdue.
Mistakes have obviously been made in the transition. I am sorry that shoppers and fellow volunteers have been offended or can’t afford to shop here. However, the majority of our stock is reasonably priced in line with other opshops. The designer clothes and accessories are priced a little higher, as are the better quality homewares. At the Bay Vinnies you can still purchase these items. A lot of op shops now sell these ‘better quality’ items online to get big prices.
I personally have not witnessed locals not shopping in our Vinnie’s shop any more. When I volunteer things seem pretty much the same. A boycott won’t hurt the ‘establishment’ but the most vulnerable in our local community.