Thousands of West Australians have volunteered to help their neighbours, friends, families and organisations around the state, with everything from grocery shopping to daily telephone calls.
And we’ve seen plenty of that generosity of spirit at Chorus. Group Manager of Volunteering, Emer Duggan, said Chorus has received calls from hundreds of new volunteers.
It is very welcome timing.
“We made a decision that any of our volunteers with underlying health conditions, and people over 70, should take a break during this period because we felt they were at too high a risk to be volunteering out in the community,” Emer said.
“What we found when those volunteers had to step back is we’ve had a huge amount of new volunteers who have put their hands up are a different demographic to what we’d normally see.
“It’s younger people, people who have lost their jobs and just want to keep busy, and people in the community who know things are in crisis and just want to help.”
Generous donation expands Chorus Kitchen meals to community
The new volunteers have been particularly welcomed by Chorus Kitchen, which has received a generous and anonymous donation designed to ensure people experiencing hardship can receive Meals on Wheels.
“That’s been really great because it means we’re doubling the amount of meals we do in the next three months to support people we don’t necessarily always support,” Emer said. “It’s families, younger people, people who have lost their jobs, or they’re in crisis right now, and we’ve been able to say ‘look, if you need help we’re here.’ ”
While social distancing rules mean our day centres have closed, many of our volunteers have switched to other areas, which has been an invaluable help. Emer said Community Visitor’s Scheme volunteers are now calling people by phone, instead of visiting in person. And our team of student volunteers from Santa Maria are creating boxed gifts, containing interesting and fun things to do, to provide a bit of a pick-me-up for customers who might be feeling socially isolated at the moment.
Emer said she hopes many of our new volunteers will continue to support Chorus once the coronavirus pandemic is over, and she looks forward to welcoming back longtime volunteers who have had to step back due to their at-risk category status.
Thinking about volunteering? Emer and the Chorus volunteering team would love to hear from you! Register your interest here.