Like a well-oiled machine and after many years of perfecting the process, the 10 or so members who participate in the project every few months have their work finished in record time.
Within half an hour (maximum!) they have put together 80 packs containing an array of toiletries that are then delivered to the Otherway Centre, home of the Aboriginal Catholic Community.
Named in honour of the late Anne McVann, who together with her husband John, were long-serving members of the conference, the packs are given to Indigenous people who find themselves hospitalised – often at short notice – and with nothing but the clothes on their back. Other loose toiletry items are also donated to the Vinnies Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service.
The packs contain an array of items including pyjamas, toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving essentials for men and sanitary items for women, deodorant, shampoo, a hairbrush and tissues. The goods are placed into material bags that are sewn by conference members Joan Glastonbury, Joy Hunt and Margaret May.
Dulwich Conference president Marie-ann Carey said the initiative was a wonderful example of what communal giving combined with teamwork can achieve.
“Along with our Christmas hampers, the Annie’s Packs are a great way we can support those in need, and also make the most of the talents of our hard-working volunteers,” she said.
“From collection of ingredients to assembling the packs and the final delivery, our team of around 12 members works tirelessly to get these projects completed.”
Dulwich is the only conference in the State making Annie’s Packs and the team usually puts together about 80 packs at a time, three times a year. The items for the packs are purchased with the generous monetary donations made through Vinnies Winter and Christmas appeals.
Retired doctor Christopher Moten, who has been a member of the conference for “about 25 years” said it was nice to be able to support people at a time of need.
“Most of us here have retired and have been members for a long time,” he explained.
“We do the packs and Christmas hampers because we know we are helping people who can’t afford these items and we’re making their life a bit more comfortable.”
The 80 Christmas hampers put together by the conference each year contain food, toys and items to celebrate the festive season and are donated to families who are doing it tough.
Joining Vinnies in 1977, Joan Glastonbury is the longest-serving member of the Dulwich conference and recalled how committed volunteers had reached out to many people in need over the years, including refugee families who “have done really well in the community”.
Annie’s Packs are distributed to Indigenous people throughout Australia by the Otherway Centre.
The St Vincent de Paul Society welcomes new members. For details about your local conference contact 8112 8700 or firstname.lastname@example.orgJump to next article