There are thousands of Australians who personify heroism. They’re strong, brave and tough; but they’re not athletes or celebrities.
They’re men and women who find courage to flee from abusive households, who find strength to overcome disadvantaged upbringings and who make incredible sacrifices to protect their children. They’re people like Anna, who has been assisted by Vinnies volunteers.
Anna’s journey is one of sheer courage and resilience. It all started when her husband became physically abusive. As a strong-willed woman, Anna wouldn’t tolerate this behaviour. She picked up her two young children, packed their bags and left.
Anna now faced the grim reality of being homeless and was forced to seek refuge in their car. Despite her dire situation, Anna was determined to shield her children from the fact that they were homeless.
“I kept them happy by telling them we were on a holiday, when all I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball,” said Anna.
Anna continued volunteering at her children’s school, she continued to take them on play dates and she even bought a tent so it felt like they were on a ‘camping adventure’. She may have been homeless, but she was a hero to her children.
Despite her bravery, Anna faced a life-defining decision; give up custody of her children, or find an appropriate home to live in. It was at this moment that Anna found the courage to reach out to Vinnies for help.
A Vinnies volunteer named Chloe came to Anna’s aid. Chloe began by helping Anna find a more affordable home outside of the city. She even helped with smaller things, like buying new school uniforms for Anna’s kids.
“I’ve never met a woman so brave and so determined to give her children a better life,” said Chloe.
Celebrate Vinnies Heroes, like Chloe, this Christmas
To this day, Chloe continues to keep in touch with Anna, sending Christmas cards and calling for regular chats.
“I am eternally grateful to Vinnies for helping me through these difficult, difficult times. They have changed my life,” said Anna.
You may have met one in your travels – a Vinnies volunteer – as there are more than 12,000 in Victoria and 60,000 Australia wide. They are part of a dedicated movement of community-minded people who provide a hand up to people in life, when they need it most.
Vinnies volunteers are living out a deeply personal mission to build more compassionate communities. They are mostly in their golden years, with the vast majority volunteering during retirement. Their time, our most precious commodity in today’s fast-moving world, has the capacity to change or even save lives.
If you ask a Vinnies volunteer what makes this much-loved charity different from the rest, it is the time spent supporting people face-to-face. Every day, volunteers take calls from people in need and visit them in their homes, sit with them at their tables and truly listen to what they need. It might be food, nappies, shoes for kids, or money for utility bills; but all too often, it is just someone to listen. To care. To empower them to get back on their feet.
Vinnies has been supporting Australia’s most vulnerable people for over 160-years. Every year, at Christmas, they make a plea for people to open their hearts to support their work.
It’s your generosity that will let Vinnies continue to rebuild their strength and help people such as Anna overcome adversity this Christmas. Donate to Vinnies Christmas Appeal: vinnies.org.au/christmasappeal or call 13 18 12.