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For the children .. Roncalli College support staff member Jonelle West and pupil Alex Lister wrap gifts at St Vincent de Paul for children in South Canterbury. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

A Roncalli College pupil is volunteering for St Vincent de Paul during the busy pre-Christmas period.

Alex Lister (16) started volunteering to help earn his bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

He has already completed his required hours of volunteering for the bronze award, but has decided to continue until the end of the school year.

He said he enjoyed volunteering.

“I just like helping out. It’s a nice environment, and a bit of a break from school.”

Alex and Roncalli support staff member Jonelle West have volunteered on and off since the beginning of the year.

In the past three weeks they have done a variety of tasks, including stacking books, sorting toys and organising the recently filled shelves from Toot for Tucker on November 15.

Filling the shelves . . . Roncalli College pupil Alex Lister and support staff Jonelle
West helped stack the shelves at St Vincent de Paul after Toot for Tucker. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

Ms West said the foodbank shelves took a while to stack.

“They were pretty empty before Toot for Tucker.”

Alex’s role before Christmas is wrapping gifts for children in need.

“We’re the Christmas elves coming and doing our bit,” Ms West said.

Timaru St Vincent de Paul store manager Sharon Leonard said it was great to have Alex helping them out.

“He’s been brilliant.

“Today we had a whole load of new toys donated, which Alex wrapped up, and now they’re all ready to go out on the 18th [of December].”

The recent food drive was the biggest one the organisation had conducted.

“We were gifted 43 banana boxes full of food. It’s definitely the best of the rallies we’ve had.”

The food parcels were especially important at this time of year.

“At this time of year, there are families who can’t buy presents or food.

“People can come here for help so they can see through December.”