Tag Archives: St Vincent de Paul

A night on the streets

I had a night to remember last Sunday.

Friends of ours volunteer for a program that provides free books for people living in poverty or on the streets of Melbourne. The books are donated by students, teachers and families associated with Lauriston Girls’ School.

Every Sunday night the Lauries’ Books volunteers head out with the St Vincent de Paul soup vans to visit five inner-city locations. I was a fill-in for a friend who couldn’t make her shift.

At each stop we laid out a blanket and then a selection of donated books and magazines. As an author, it’s always fascinating observing how readers select books. This was particularly true on Sunday night. I can tell you that famous authors’ names in big embossed letters definitely make a difference as the Micheners, Ludlums, Cornwalls and the like went quickly. (Note to self: Write more books, get famous and get name on cover in big silver font.)

My guesses about which books would be ignored were way off the mark. Not having a roof over your head doesn’t mean you aren’t hungry for further learning; non-fiction titles on Edward de Bono and Jung were snapped up.

There were several parents looking for textbooks to help their children. We even had a request for a Spanish-English dictionary.

I didn’t count how many books we gave away but it was several boxes’ worth. There were many thank yous from people saying how reading provided comfort and made their days shorter. The donated books and magazines represented more than just entertainment.

I’ll sign off with a clip of an epic Bruce Springsteen song about homelessness, from a concert I was extremely fortunate to attend. Want to see some seriously twisted guitar magic by Mr Tom Morello? Check. It. Out.