Catholic schools brave the cold for the Vinnies’ Winter Appeal
St Mary's students in their pyjamas with their teddy bears
Vincent the Bear with donations of canned food for the Winter Appeal
Students and staff from a number of schools across the diocese held fundraising events for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s (Vinnies) Winter Appeal.
St Mary’s Primary, Rydalmere took on the winter chill on Friday 2 July, dressed in their pyjamas and armed with teddy bears and cans of food to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s (Vinnies) Winter Appeal. The theme of the day was ‘feeding each other with happiness’ and was the culmination of a term-long peer support program on optimism and being positive. Each student brought a gold coin and donated cans of food for the Winter Appeal.
A teddy bear on loan from Vinnies, aptly named Vincent, visited classes over two weeks, drumming up support for the pyjama day and encouraging the children to donate to the appeal.
Religious Education coordinator, Simon Stennett, said the bear had made a significant impact on the students.
‘The children have been so enthusiastic and they have really taken to Vincent,’ said Simon. ‘He currently lives in our foyer and is surrounded by the food that has been donated and pictures of smiling faces that the children have drawn for him.’
‘They stop and say hello on their way past and some even give him a cuddle,’ he said. ‘It’s been wonderful to see the children so motivated and engaged with the appeal.’
The students also received a visit from the Vinnies outreach van. Vinnie’s youth coordinator, Penelope Foster, spoke about the work Vinnies do in the community and how other people can help.
After the visit the children broke into peer support groups, read a bedtime story, played games led by the Year 6 peer support leaders, and shared a teddy bear picnic lunch.
Terra Sancta College, Schofields raised more than $2,000 for the Winter Appeal with 12 teachers taking part in a winter sleepout at the college. Teachers ate a meal of pumpkin soup; were entertained by Beer’N’Skittles, a band mainly comprised of former students; and slept in cardboard boxes. They woke the next morning at dawn for prayer and a BBQ breakfast.
At Holy Cross Primary, Glenwood, teachers also participated in a winter sleepout at the school to raise awareness of homelessness. When the students arrived at school the following morning, the teachers were able to share some of the challenges they had experienced.
‘We can be thankful for the warm clothes and warm homes that we live in,’ said assistant principal, Mary Anne Allen. ‘It is important to realise that not all people are as fortunate as we are.’
Holy Cross students were also able to support the campaign by wearing their pyjamas to school for a gold coin donation. In total, the students managed to raise over $700.
‘This shows us what it is like for people who haven’t got a warm home,’ said Year 6 student Roanne.
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