Mater and Vinnies Qld spread Christmas cheer for survivors of DV

Hundreds of passionate and generous healthcare workers at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane have rallied to lessen the load for domestic violence survivors on Christmas Day, donating food vouchers, toys, clothes and gifts to families in need.

Celebrating a 25-year partnership between Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and St Vincent de Paul Qld, Annette Wilcox, Hospital Stewards Co-ordinator at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane, said this year’s donations would be delivered to 17 Brisbane families – making it the largest Christmas donation drive by staff at the South Brisbane hospital.

“It is very heart-warming to see the generosity and spirit of staff at this time of year,” Ms Wilcox said.

“To know these gifts will be going to families who have been through so much is so special.

“We have had a trying and difficult year, yet when I put the feelers out to see who wanted to be involved in the Vinnies Christmas Appeal, I was really moved by the number of staff who immediately wanted to help.”

Ms Wilcox said the teams involved in the appeal were from multiple departments within Mater.

“It’s not just our nursing staff who make up our donations, but also our housekeepers, ward services, physiotherapists, administration staff, the medical record scanning team, staff in the Emergency Department, the neuroscience team, the executive team and our doctors too.”

Ms Wilcox said the secret to the success of the 25-year partnership with Vinnies Qld was the staff’s commitment to help and care for others.

“It is always nice to focus on doing something good for someone else,” she said.

“I feel privileged to have been involved with the appeal from the beginning and to be able to put this together and keep it going for so long.

“It is only through the generosity of our staff that it continues to happen every year.”

Vinnies Queensland CEO Kevin Mercer said the organisation was dedicated to supporting those experiencing hardships in our communities.

“Unfortunately, the need is a great one and that’s why it’s so important to work with the community and partners like Mater,” Mr Mercer said.

“Just like Mater, we feel very strongly about proactively helping our communities and it’s always a pleasure to work together each year to help brighten spirits in the lead up to Christmas.”

Mr Mercer said all Christmas hampers were distributed to people in the community who could use some extra support.

“The hampers we receive from Mater, at least in Brisbane, will be set aside to distribute to survivors of domestic violence and their families,” he said.

 “A significant amount of domestic violence survivors we support have basically had to start again, often with next to nothing. So, these hampers will be very well received – every bit helps.

“With Christmas having so much focus on family or going out and buying things, it can be very isolating for those who are struggling financially or are experiencing difficult family relationships.

“It’s not just about what’s inside the hampers that counts – knowing you have people in the community thinking about you at this time can really help to lift spirits.”

Mater Private Hospital Brisbane’s Director of Clinical Services Tracey Hutley said the partnership was rewarding for everyone involved.

“The appeal is something special for staff at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane to be involved in. It’s a way to give back to our community, help those in need and spread a little bit of joy,” Ms Hutley said.

“Being able to bring more smiles to those less fortunate on Christmas morning is fulfilling.”

Image: Mater Private Hospital Brisbane Director of Clinical Services Tracey Hutley, Nurse Managers Sharon Illemann and Bec Christie, St Vincent de Paul Society Diocese President John O’Gorman and MPHB Chief Operating Officer Paul Darcy.


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