St Vincent de Paul Society confirms every cent will go to bushfire victims

We're focused on helping people rebuild their lives

IN the wake of recent criticism, the St Vincent de Paul Society has confirmed every cent will go to bushfire victims.

Vinnies made the commitment following revelations this week that donated money was being held back by charitable organisations, such as Red Cross and The Salvation Army, for "administration costs".

It was reported the St Vincent de Paul Society had only handed over $1.1 million out of a total of $12.5 million.

"We'd like to assure communities that every dollar raised for the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal will be used to support the people impacted by the fires," a spokesperson said.

"Vinnies will not and has never kept funds from disaster appeals for any other work or cause.

"During the bushfire crisis, our volunteers are on the ground in hundreds of communities across the country, helping people as they deal with the immediate aftermath of fires.

"They live and work in the impacted communities and will stay alongside those people affected for the long months of recovery ahead."

The spokesperson added Vinnies had, from day one, been in communities providing assistance from their own funds.

"Over the past three weeks, we've been actively distributing assistance from the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal," they said.

"This includes financial packages; essential items such as food, water, clothing and bedding; and emotional support for those affected by the bushfires."

The Vinnies Bushfire Appeal raised $12.5 million to support people impacted by bushfires in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

Vinnies has distributed more than $2.4 million nationally with a further $250,000 already processed for distribution in the coming days - totalling $2.65 million from the appeal funds in direct cash payments.

In addition, they've disbursed significant amounts of material goods including food, water, clothing and bedding.

"The process of assessing people and establishing their need does take some time but we are focused on helping as many people as possible as quickly as we can," the spokesperson said.

"As we access more communities and establish need, we are also accelerating the rate of response.

"No administration fees are taken from this appeal, meaning the money raised goes directly to the relief and recovery effort.

"Vinnies is focused on doing what it has always done - assist people to rebuild their lives as they re-establish their homes, their livelihoods and their spirit.

"We will provide assistance now and during the difficult months ahead for those people who have lost everything."

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO Barnie van Wyk visited communities on the far South Coast this week and reached out to Andrew Constance's office to meet directly.

Vinnies NSW CEO Jack de Groot also visited the area a fortnight ago.

"We are committed to standing by our communities, helping them to get through today, tomorrow and for the future," the spokesperson said.

"We are so grateful to our volunteers and to the many thousands of compassionate people who have donated to the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal."

People seeking assistance can contact Vinnies on 13 18 12.