Vinnies shop manager Helen Reid told the team during a tour of the Langford Drive centre that it was a hub of activity on most days.
The conference is one of the busiest in the State conducting about 20 interviews a day, while Fred’s Van runs a dinner service on Wednesdays and lunch service on Sundays that cater for up to 60 people each time.
The adjoining shop is well patronised and provides a welcoming environment where customers can “shop with dignity”.
“The quality of donations we receive is high,” Ms Reid said, adding that the store sells a wide range of budget items, from furniture and house wares, to toys and clothing.
Ms Reid said there were strong links between Vinnies and the local Elizabeth parish community, with several parishioners volunteering their time to serve in the shop and Fred’s Van. Staff and students from the nearby St Patrick’s Technical College also help to run a free sausage sizzle in front of Vinnies at Friday lunchtime.
The visit to Vinnies was part of the ‘long day’ of activities in the parish on November 13. Also on the itinerary was a tour of St Pat’s Tech and visits to Columba College, Catherine McAuley, St Mary Magdalene and St Thomas More primary schools.
The week-long parish pastoral visitation kicked off with three lively celebrations of Eucharist led by parish priest Fr Pat Woods and observing Remembrance Day on November 11.
Members of the visitation team were privileged to hear parishioners share their long term connections with the parish, many of whom left their country of birth to make Elizabeth their new home in a ‘land which provided much opportunity’.
They were also appreciative of the energetic music and efforts of the different choirs at St Ann’s Church and St Thomas More Church, particularly the involvement of many young people which reflected the abundance of young families and children in the parish.