Caring youngsters have been inspired by a voluntary organisation to help refugees, homeless people, and others in need in their area. Twelve pupils at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, were galvanised into action by a visit from Michael Willcock of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) – an international Christian volunteer movement that works to tackle poverty by providing practical help to those in need.
Joining the SVP’s junior wing – which has some 7,000 members, aged between seven and 11, across England and Wales – the Newcastle students were awarded ‘Mini Vinnie’ badges, and encouraged to consider what actions they could take to assist those in need of help.
The young volunteers drew around their hands to symbolise their wish to ‘provide a helping hand’, he continued, and each wrote down a reason for becoming a Mini Vinnie, with statements including ‘to support and care for those in need’, ‘to show love and compassion to others’ and ‘to demonstrate what a caring community we are’.
And the St Catherine’s Mini Vinnies have certainly shown that actions speak louder than words, involving the whole school in their charitable work this year, which has included collecting chocolate Easter eggs, food parcels, clothing, toiletries, and baby clothes.
They have also created welcome cards for refugees and asylum seekers, and posters for display in the SVP Centre, and are enthusiastic about their achievements.
The president of the St Catherine’s Mini Vinnies group said: “I love giving my time and love to people in need.”
Another Mini Vinnie added: “It made me so happy to learn from Mr Willcock about the origins of the Mini Vinnies and the wider organisation of Saint Vincent de Paul. We really want to make a difference and help others.”
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