My volunteer roles include greeter, collector, fundraiser, providing goods to Op project, event support. My involvement in The Poppy and Star Flight began as part of my work as the Kairuruku at Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury where I put out a call out for volunteers to knit stars and poppies and over 700 were made.
My most current volunteer role was as a Civil Defence volunteer during last week’s flood-induced State of Emergency in Canterbury. Based at Hakatere Marae, my role included registering evacuees, offering immediate help with their needs, and assisting them to settle into their stay.
What is your touching moment?
One of my most touching moments was when I saw what a big difference a little kindness could make.
When people get simple things like clothing, toiletries, a phone charger for them to contact people they love, their faces and spirits lit up. The longer they stayed the more relaxed they became, and it was lovely to hear the laughter as they talked or played games. There were special moments like when two strangers of different generations sat and happily chatted to each other.
The volunteer team felt we made new friends and had mixed emotions when people they helped could safely leave.
“Volunteering is in my DNA – my parents volunteered for many years and so I grew up with it as part of my life. It wasn’t something I had to think about if I wanted to get involved in it was just a natural thing to do in my world.”
What would you consider as the biggest benefit of volunteering?
Seeing how much this help meant to people who quickly had to leave the safety and security of their homes because floodwaters were approaching makes me feel like I’m doing something for them.
Watching how much these meant to people was my reward for volunteering with Civil Defence during this emergency. When I saw what a big difference a little kindness can make, I feel all worth it.
Is there any additional thought you would like to share with us?
It can be easy to take for granted the things we have around us that are part of our everyday life but when suddenly you are stranded away from home, family and friends, or have to grab a few things if you have the chance and leave the safety and security of your home because floodwaters are approaching it can be the small things that change how you feel.