Who We Are
For more than 165 years, St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (Vinnies Victoria) has offered a hand-up to people in need. In Victoria, our 12,000+ strong network of members and volunteers provide assistance to people whose daily struggles can include putting food on the table, keeping the lights on and ensuring their children remain at school and obtain an education.
The key focus of The St Vincent de Paul Society is to help people move out of disadvantaged circumstances. In Victoria, we do this through our ‘Good Works’ – our core programs – around cost of living, education, food insecurity and homelessness, which currently supports more than 300,000 people a year. You can learn more about the impact of our work in our 2021/22 Impact Report here or on our website, vinnies.org.au.
In Paris 1833, Frederic Ozanam, a 20-year-old university student, was challenged to do something to assist people who were struggling to survive day to day. Frederic and his colleagues took up the challenge and started providing practical assistance, such as food and fire wood, as a result, the St Vincent de Paul Society was born on 23 April 1833.
Frederic’s vision became a worldwide movement and, 21 years later on 5 March 1854, the St Vincent de Paul Society was established in Melbourne by Fr Gerald Ward who, like Frederic, also witnessed increased poverty and homelessness due to the discovery of gold in central Victoria.
Today, through a wide network of members and volunteers the Society’s work continues to provide practical frontline support, advocacy and friendship to the most vulnerable members of our community.
A Vinnies Sleepout is an independently-hosted fundraising event that encourages community groups, schools and workplaces to come together for one night to sleep out at a venue of their choosing to raise money for Victorians experiencing homelessness and poverty. The sleepout events hosted in Victoria raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s (Vinnies Victoria) services. Learn more about hosting your own sleepout here.