The 2022 NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout is on this week with participants across the state braving the cold to raise vital funds and awareness in support of local services provided by the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Funds raised on the night will allow the Society to provide material and financial assistance to people experiencing hardship and disadvantage, along with enabling programs promoting education and community inclusion.
The MBA Partnership and Count Charitable Foundation will be matching all donations made to the Tweed Heads Vinnies Community Sleepout which was held on on Wednesday, up to $5,000.
Jack de Groot, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, stressed the importance of this year’s event in light of the crisis faced by communities bearing the brunt of the soaring cost of living.
‘More than ever, those struggling to get by are turning to the St Vincent de Paul Society in an effort to stay above water.
‘People on limited incomes are being the hardest hit by the rising cost of food, rents, household bills, petrol and other expenses that are necessary in order to sustain a dignified standard of living.
‘For many, the notion of owning a home is completely out of reach, resulting in a perfect storm where rents continue to go up and there isn’t enough social housing to meet demand.
‘The St Vincent de Paul Society plays an important role in assisting people in need, but we desperately need a long-term holistic approach to ensure that, as a society, we aren’t perpetuating a system that entrenches people in a cycle where they are reliant upon charities to survive.’
Figures released over the past financial year reveal more than 34,000 people sought assistance from the Society with 84 per cent citing the need for food and 55% experiencing housing stress.
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW State President, Paul Burton said that members do remarkable work in communities across the state each day to alleviate the hardship faced by a growing number of people.
‘The funds raised from the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout will make a tangible difference to families facing difficult decisions such as having to choose between having enough food to eat every day or being able to have a full tank of petrol at the bowser,’ he said.
‘Everyone deserves to live in dignity; we hope this event encourages people to take notice and bring about positive change in their community.’
NSW Vinnies Community Sleepouts are held this week and weekend in Albury, Armidale, Central Coast, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Hunter, Orange, Southern Highlands, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed Heads, Wagga Wagga and Western Sydney on Friday 19 August.
Donations to the NSW Vinnies Community Sleepout can be made at www.vinnies.org.au/communitysleepout.