31 August 2021, The Tablet

Be kind a million times, urges SVP

“A million acts of kindness”: St Vincent de Paul Society launches awareness month campaign

Be kind a million times, urges SVP

Claire and Jane, marking the SVP's 'Awareness Month' with acts of kindness.

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is launching its Awareness Month Campaign, which will take place throughout the month of September, and encourages people to take part in  “a million gestures of kindness”.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the charity’s work, and encourage more volunteers, as they focus on supporting communities in poverty across the UK in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

SVP president Helen O’Shea said: “The problems facing the country are immense; increasing poverty, the agonising sense of isolation and anxiety over infection are issues which have become constant companions in our lives.”

She added: “It’s obvious there isn’t one solution to the situation, nor a series of ‘fixes’, but there are things we can all do to help our neighbours, friends, family or perfect strangers.”

The aim of the “million gestures of kindness” is to remind us that “Acts of kindness and compassion don’t always have to be grand, more often they are seemingly insignificant, something most people would view as ‘ordinary’,” said O’shea.

This could be as small as  chatting with a housebound older person, picking up shopping or medication for a neighbour or just telephoning someone to say hello, pointed out the SVP president.

“It’s through a million gestures of kindness like these that we can start to address the enormity of the mountain we must all climb,” she said.

As part of their awareness month, on 27 September the charity will hold a mass at the Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate RC Church in Mill to celebrate the birthday of its patron saint St Vincent de Paul. The mass will be led by Fr Eugene Curran.

St Vincent de Paul, who died in 1660, spent time working as chaplain to the galley slaves of 17th century Paris and was a member of the Congregation of the Missions, taking vows of poverty chastity, stability and obedience.

And 9 September will also see the charity celebrate the feast day of founder Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the nineteenth century French lawyer, journalist and equal rights advocate who founded the charity and named it after St Vincent de Paul.

The work the charity carries out is needed now more than ever said SVP chief executive Elizabeth Palmer: 

“We have seen the need for our support greatly increase at a time when our face-to-face work has been severely curtailed. There has also been a surge of people needing our help for the first time in their lives.”

She added that the charity needs all the support they can get and urged people to “help by joining your local SVP group, or by visiting a St Vincent’s shop and [asking] about volunteering.”

Their campaign comes as the organisation Kindness UK has launched a survey to find out more about trends in kindness. 












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