We have an active Mini Vinnies group at St Patrick’s which is the junior version of the St. Vincent de Paul Socieity.
The pupils work and pray together and lead projects, often involving the whole school community, in order to help people in need within the school, local and international communities. The aim of the Mini Vinnies is to introduce children to the importance of social justice and to see how they can contribute to this.
Mini Vinnies 2019-2020
The Mini Vinnies have always made cards for people in the local community who need our thoughts and prayers, such as, if they are bereaved or ill, however. we knew we may not always hear of these people in school. Therefore, we decided to reach out to a member of our Parish community asking her to be our local contact. She agreed and gives us the names and addresses of people who she feels would like to hear from our school community. Lots of pupils volunteered to make these cards and we send them out as we receive the information. We recently received a lovely letter from a local couple, they said, ‘ Many thanks for the beautiful card which you sent to us…’ and ‘We very much appreciated the prayers and thoughts which you expressed…’
We have continued the weekly food bank and Christmas collections, made 100 Christmas cards for the community party and bought the Healthy mum and baby from World Gifts.
Mini Vinnies 2018-2019
In September we welcomed our new members and we told them about Food Bank Fridays, the Christmas food bank appeal and the community Christmas cards.
In our February meeting we talked about the Give It Up campaign that was to run during Lent in aid of CAFOD. We decided to support this by running a stall selling books that the children had finished reading to others for them to enjoy. This book sale was a great success raising £70.50.
We also decided to create a chocolate tombola. During Lent, we asked the school community, to bring into school, sweets and chocolate, that they would normally have eaten, to provide prizes for the tombola. The tombola was great fun, raising £111.60 and in total we sent £182.10 to CAFOD in aid of this campaign.
One of our group also brought in spider plants and we sold these to raise money to purchase World Gifts. We bought fish, a school starter pack and trees for life this year from World Gifts.
Mini Vinnies 2017-2018
The Mini Vinnies continued this year with what has now become part of our yearly work. We collected for the local food bank, receiving a letter from them saying we had given 58.24kg of food which provided 73 meals for people in Durham. We also collected for the Christmas appeal once more.
We made a hundred Christmas cards for the local community and from World Gifts we bought 2 nets to protect against mosquito bites, a goat and the gift to help someone begin a business.
In May, we decided to lead a Rosary Prayer Group at lunchtimes and invite any members of our school community to come. First of all, we invited Fr Robert to one of our group meetings to talk to us about the rosary and its importance.
The rosary sessions were really well attended ,averaging 21 pupils, and we enjoyed preparing and leading these. One of our community showed us how to say the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be in Tongan and another these same prayers in Polish.
Mini Vinnies 2015-2016
September began with our group buying more World Gifts for our virtual village. We have now funded the purchase of some chickens, worms (to help ensure healthy soil for growing vegetables) and tuition to support a child learning to read.
During this second autumn half term we are carrying on collecting food for our local food bank and collecting small change to raise funds in order to buy more CAFOD World Gifts.
We are currently making one hundred Christmas cards to give to the senior citizens in our community who attend the local Christmas party organised by our church parish committee. This helps to enrich their Christmas experience and to know that they are valued and thought about.
Mini Vinnies 2014-2015
During our first year we undertook many varied projects. Our fundraising began with a “silly hat” and “silly tombola” in support of the CAFOD “Big Silly Share” campaign to support those who don’t have enough resources across the world.
We then handmade 100 Christmas cards for the senior citizens party in our local community. Also, at Christmas time we organised a collection of Christmas foods for the County Durham food banks to help those in need of emergency/short term food supplies.
Our group wrote prayers and made prayer cards to be given out to the elderly and sick of our parish to support them in their need.
We also did further fundraising in February by supporting the UNICEF Day for Change 2015 to specifically support children caught up in conflicts across the the world.
We then started a continual collection for the Durham food banks and we are creating a virtual village in our school by buying World Gifts through CAFOD. The children bring any spare change into school and we discuss as a group what to buy for our village. In April we funded the purchase of a queen bee, a football and a vegetable garden to help those living in areas of need to produce food and enjoy sports and games.
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