ARARAT - The St Vincent de Paul Ararat Conference has been distributing items warmly donated as part of its annual St Vinnie's winter appeal.
President of the St Vincent de Paul Ararat Conference Pat McAloon said the event is the major fundraiser of the year for St Vincent de Paul.
Mr McAloon said last year St Vincent Ararat distributed $19,560 to help people in need, on average $400 a week.
He said the money goes towards providing emergency relief for people in Ararat and surrounding areas.
Mr McAloon said he was very pleased with the involvement of people in raising goods and awareness of social issues, particularly students at Marian College.
In June students from the secondary school braved freezing temperatures to take part in the appeal by sleeping out in cardboard boxes for a night.
In response the community donated a large amount of food, clothing and toiletries which will all go directly to providing assistance to individuals and families doing it tough.
Twenty-one students participated in the local sleep out which came about as a result of the annual corporate sleep out held at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne every year to highlight the plight of homelessness across Australia.
A break down of the almost $20,000 raised and distributed last year includes $8,000 for food, $2,000 for emergency transport and accommodation, $6,000 for medical and chemist supplies and $2,000 for home appliances.
Mr McAloon said some of the money also goes towards giving disadvantaged youth the opportunity to learn.
He said all of the money raised goes to the people in the community that most need it.
"All of the money we raise is spent locally and goes towards helping local people in need," he said.
"It is determined on a needs by need basis."
We like to think of it has a hand up, not a hand out.
"Everybody has times in their lives when they get stuck and things can become too much.
"We like to think we are there to bring help to people to get through those times when for example all the utility bills come at once or a multitude of things are impacting someone's life."