Vinnies 'Santas' busy building wheels for disabled kids

Vinnies 'Santa' volunteers will be putting their mechanical skills to good use by building wheelchairs for landmine victims today at the Mary MacKillop Outreach workshop in Sydney.

The initiative, which has been organised on conjunction with Ashfield Council, will see twenty retired men dressed as Santa producing wheelchairs for children injured in third world countries, like Cambodia and Laos.

The Mary MacKillop Outreach Men's Shed has been converted into Santa's Workshop, with volunteers already building over 1000 wheelchairs from recycled bicycles.

Toys have also been made for needy local kids.

The Men's Shed project is a social and activities group for older men, which provides opportunities for volunteers to join in activities and help mentor, support and train other men living with a mental health problem or disability.

Manager of the service Bob Nelson said funds are badly needed to continue the work.

"The service is extremely hard pressed to meet the cost of kits which, together with the bike frames, go into making up the wheelchairs," Mr Nelson said.

"People have been tremendous with donations of bikes for the wheelchair frames, but we still have to raise the money to buy the many other parts involved," he said.

To support the Men's Shed and other St Vincent de Paul Society good works, donations can made to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal on 13 18 12.

Vinnies joins forces with local council to provide wheelchairs to third world children this Christmas(Vinnies media release, 21/10/07)

St VIncent de Paul Society

500,000 crosses for WYD (CathNews 02/03/07)

21 Dec 2007