By Nigel Tapp
UnitingCare Tasmania has provided two buses to the St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) in a partnership aimed at making it easier for Southern bushfire victims to access urgently needed goods and services as they begin the task of rebuilding their lives.
The Southern Travelling Op shop (TOP) bus – purchased from Metro last year – and UnitingCare Tasmania’s TOP minibus are being loaned indefinitely to Vinnies. The buses will support the Catholic agency’s lead role in delivering material aid to the people affected by the early January bushfires in Dunalley and the wider Tasman Peninsula.
UnitingCare Tasmania chief executive Lindy O’Neill said the buses would enable Vinnies to provide material aid quickly and efficiently to where it was most needed, moving in and out of areas as required.
“People can be assured that there will be no cost for the stock on the buses as this is part of the agencies’ bushfire recovery efforts,” Ms O’Neill said.
“It’s an exciting initiative and we are very enthusiastic about the buses being utilised in this way.”
“The buses have never been about making money for the organisation but rather about putting goods and services into the (Southern Tasmanian) community as far and as wide as possible, and this partnership meets that criteria.”
“We are just glad that the buses were ready to go when this need occurred.”
Ms O’Neill handed the keys to the buses to the St Vincent de Paul Society’s state chief executive officer Frances Bartlett last month. Ms Bartlett welcomed the support from UnitingCare Tasmania.
“Agencies such as ours have a history of working together in times of great community need and this is just another example of that,” Ms Bartlett said.
“UCT’s generosity will certainly make our task easier and more cost effective allowing donated items to be made available quickly to victims.”
Last month the director of appeals for the Vic/Tas synod, David Hickey, handed over a cheque for $55,000 raised by the synod to the Red Cross.
Moderator Isabel Thomas Dobson said she was delighted that the Church had been able to work with other agencies to help those affected by the fires which destroyed more than 100 homes and businesses in the State’s south.
“It has been very heartening to see members of the Uniting Church respond in a spirit of generosity that comes from the love of God for all people,” she said.