High octane community support for Ryde-Gladesville’s new Van

There’s something in the holy water at Ryde-Gladesville Parish, where a dynamic St Vincent de Paul Conference received overwhelming support from the community to start their very own Vinnies Van service, commencing this year.

Anna Alessi, Gladesville Conference President, and Fr Greg Morgan are long-time supporters of the Metropolitan Van Service, sharing shifts monthly on the Bayside van run. During these shifts, they began a discussion about how to start a local van service across the Ryde and Cumberland council areas. This service would help many families in crisis.

A dedicated committee formed with Fr Greg’s full support, receiving generous donations from residents across Sydney’s northwest, bringing what started as a simple idea to become a reality.

After setting up a fundraising page, ‘Let’s build a Vinnies van’ on the Society’s Fundraise Your Way website, they set themselves the target of $90,000, enough to purchase and fit-out a van.

Spreading the word among parishioners and through stories in The Weekly Times and the Catholic Weekly, donations started pouring in, some as significant as $10,000. They’ve now raised over $160,000 and surplus funds will be put towards purchasing another van in the future.

Anna Alessi is really humbled by how much parishioners of Ryde and Gladesville wanted to support the initiative.

“It was just incredible how much people were donating to this cause. It just goes to show how well-regarded the Society is in this community,” Anna said.

“It is our way to reach out to people who are falling on hard times for many reasons and who can barely afford their rent and basic cost of living,” Fr Greg said.

Fr Greg and the committee were also grateful to Josie Charbel, Vinnies Vans Manager, for her valuable advice on how to make it a success.

The Parish Office has been receiving enquiries from parishioners who supported the fundraiser, keen to volunteer on the new van, including young members and volunteers from the area.

Gladesville Conference, St Charles Borromeo, Ryde and Our Lady Queen of Peace, Gladesville look forward with excitement to this new journey.

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