St Vincent de Paul Wagga issue plea for donations after volunteers record ‘worst ever’ food appeal

DONATIONS NEEDED: Josie Howard (Wagga Secretary), Trevor Urquhart (Coordinator- Food Appeal), and Joanne Crowley (Wagga Regional President). Picture: Kieren L. Tilly
DONATIONS NEEDED: Josie Howard (Wagga Secretary), Trevor Urquhart (Coordinator- Food Appeal), and Joanne Crowley (Wagga Regional President). Picture: Kieren L. Tilly

Volunteers for the St Vincent de Paul Society in Wagga have been left disheartened after recording their worst Charity Food Appeal to date.

Trevor Uruqhart has overseen countless appeals as food co-ordinator for the Wagga Christmas appeal but believes Sunday’s offering was the ‘worst response” he’s ever seen.

“We make the call out every year for people to give but last weekend’s appeal just flopped,” he said.

“Usually we’ll fill up an entire trailer with bags of food – this year we only got 16 bags.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Volunteers and organisers alike were stunned by the lack of donations left outside for collection and Mr Urquhart is unsure why people’s generosity was so significantly altered.

“Perhaps people just didn’t put their bags out for collection because of the rain over the weekend,” he said.

“I know one lady dropped her donation off today for that reason.”

“Or perhaps things are really tough out there and families are just tightening their belts.”

The Wagga St Vincent de Paul Society is determined to put together 500 hampers for charity and there’s plenty of supplies ready to go in at their Edward Street warehouse.

“We’ve already purchased all the general Christmas stuff - the hams, cakes, puddings, custards, biscuits, chips, sweets, drinks and chocolates,” Mr Urquhart said.

“But to supplement these goods we really need general food supplies and we usually get that from the food drive.”

Wagga regional president for St Vincent de Paul Joanne Crowley said more than 400 families from Wagga and Junee had this year registered to receive a Christmas hamper from Vinnies alone. 

Previous years’ donations have assisted more than 800 families across the board. 

“It makes a big difference to a lot of people who can’t afford toys for their kids or things like custard and puddings.”

Mr Urquhart said there was still time for people to donate.

“Times are tough but we need to encourage the people of Wagga Wagga to dig deep now and drop some food supplies down to our centre,” he said.

“Every little bit counts.”

The appeal began in 1984 and is supported by a number of Wagga-based organisations.