Community & Purpose
Soup for the soul
“It certainly gave us a new layer of what being part of a community is really about,” Jason Batson
“Last year a little group of us decided to get involved and to spend a night volunteering,” says Jason Batson, District Manager, ANZ, reflecting on his time volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society. “It certainly gave us a new layer of what being part of a community is really about.”
More than 116,000 Australians currently experience homelessness – one in every two hundred people. 40 per cent of them are aged under 25.
St Vincent de Paul Society, one of ANZ’s community partners, offers a ‘hand up’ to people in need, including those experiencing homelessness. Almost all - 97 per cent - of the Society’s workforce are volunteers. They tackle everything from running the vintage shops to the youth and education programs and the food vans.
“Our van volunteers - or ‘Vannies’ is as they're known - use their soup and their sandwiches to create an atmosphere in an environment of friendship and connection,” says Cassandra Hatton, General Manager, Human Resources for St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria. “We rely on them to do the work we do in our communities.”
Jason was surprised at how little he had to travel to meet people who relied on the St Vincent de Paul Society’s services.
“I had no idea these shelters existed and it's two blocks away from where I work,” he says. “The majority of people were people who’d had one bad turn in life. Mental health issues, domestic violence - all the things we hadn't really thought about.”
Watch the video above to find out more about Jason’s volunteer experience with the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Ordinary people, extraordinary talent