Well into winter, many of Shepparton’s homeless continue to bounce from home to home and couch to couch, as others walk around at night to avoid freezing.
It is these images which have brought together Mooroopna’s St Mary’s Primary School and St Vincent De Paul, as part of the organisation’s Winter Appeal.
An annual event, this year students have been encouraged to bring in a jacket or blanket each to donate to the organisation, which will pass the clothes on to the region’s needy.
As well as other items donated by the students and their families, the school has also managed to get Woolworths on board, which has donated food to Vinnies.
Mooroopna’s incoming conference president Bernie Trevaskis said the organisation desperately needed donations, particularly throughout the winter.
‘‘These people come into our shop as a last resort and our conference people interview them and we provide them with the things they need help with, be that food, warm clothes or help with furniture or paying a phone bill,’’ Mr Trevaskis said.
‘‘A lot of them are living home to home and sometimes they end up living in the bush, camping out if they have nowhere to go.
‘‘At one stage during the summer there was over 70 homeless people living on the river.
‘‘We rely on the donations of people in the area, so we can give help to those who are most in need of it.’’
St Mary’s students have been involved in the scheme for as long as religious education co-ordinator Marg Lee can remember.
She said the initiative drew attention to issues students might otherwise be unaware of.
‘‘It makes them more aware of the needy people in our area, people who are certainly less fortunate and aren’t as privileged to have warm clothes and warm homes,’’ Ms Lee said.
‘‘We live in a world of thinking everyone is fortunate like ourselves, but there are people out there living in their cars or in bushland, and it’s hard to imagine the reality that’s going on.
‘‘Talking about this and making it the focus in their classes makes them realise that they can help.’’
If you would like to donate to the Vinnies winter appeal, the Mooroopna store is at 2 Northgate St, Mooroopna.
Editorial, page 10.