It has more than 60,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across Australia. Internationally, the Society operates in 140 countries and has over 800,000 members.
The SVdP Society was founded by a 20 year old student named Frederic Ozanam in 1833. It was established by like-minded individuals who wished to put their faith into action. This compassionate outlook, enthusiasm and vision continues today in Australia. There are thousands of people who every day share their time, care for humanity and energy to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people all around the country.
The SVdP Society has a large presence in the Diocese of Wollongong, offering special works and services in the areas of homelessness and crisis support, emergency relief, mental health and isolation support, education support, food services, disability support, accommodation options and referral pathways.
In 2017, there were 33 parish-based conferences consisting of 434 members conducting 18,539 home visits to vulnerable people in the diocese. Additionally, they have 1,457 volunteers in the diocese who assist in various special works in SVdP Centres and in other capacities. In 2017, members clocked up 7,691 hours serving the mission through volunteering.
The SVdP Society run 25 centres of charity in the diocese where donated goods are collected, sorted and either given to people requiring assistance or sold at reasonable prices to our customers to support our charitable works. They also run 3 bulk container deposit centres as part of the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme. These facilities help community members, schools, organisations and businesses take advantage of the Return and Earn program to raise funds in support of their operations. Vinnies’ participation in the program helps to support the many services provided by the Society through additional revenue, with a handling fee earned for every container processed through the facilities.
The SVdP Society in the diocese also operate holiday units at Gerroa and Mollymook providing respite for families/individuals experiencing difficulties.
There are also SVdP high school conferences and “Mini Vinnies” in a number of diocesan primary schools involved in charitable works of different kinds. They also run a young adult conference and group involved in activities for disadvantaged children, fundraising and advocacy.