You’re never too old to care and help others, and it’s something Whangarei woman Doreen Alexander knows well.

Aged 100, Doreen is still volunteering at the Hospice Shop in Whangarei and reckons it helps keep her young.

Besides, the sprightly centenarian jokes, if she wasn’t there to keep the rest of the people at the Hospice Shop in line chaos could ensue.

And that’s just what she does, as well as keeping everybody happy, entertained and inspired, Hospice retail manager Kathy McMillan said.

“She’s just wonderful and has such a great sense of humour. The customers love her and we just love her being herself,” McMillan says. “She’s great with the customers and she has her regulars who come in just to see her on Mondays. She’s also been a regular at the Growers Market on Saturday mornings — she’s such a great volunteer. Her contribution is immense and she’s such an inspiration.”

Doreen has been volunteering at the Hospice Shop since May 2001, but has been volunteering “ever since I gave up work”.

She started volunteering at Hospice after having a friend go through its palliative services and seeing the outstanding job the organisation does.

“I just wanted to give something back. I love coming here and it gives me something to do. It keeps me young,” Doreen says.

She was born in Whangarei, and has lived in the city all her life, and Doreen says the best part about volunteering is being able to give something back to her community.

She believes she’s an example that you are never too old to do something for others, and volunteering gives her a real sense of purpose. She’s sure others will get a lot out of giving up some of their own time to help people.

In these days when everybody seemed to be busy and rushing, Doreen says taking some time out to do something good would help people cope with their busy lives, as volunteering gave so much pleasure to the volunteer and those they help.

“I love it here. I just get such a nice feeling from helping out and knowing you’ve been able to make a contribution.”

Doreen Alexander
Whangarei Hospice Shop

Interactive Volunteer Stories Map

This story was shared as part of our interactive map of volunteer stories from across Aotearoa, which we launched during #NVW2019. This map is filled with stories from volunteers throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. This map celebrates the contribution of volunteers in their communities throughout Aotearoa. It aims to inspire people to engage in volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action and to realise the benefits of weaving their communities together through their actions.