In 1994 Paul Keating was our Prime Minister and iconic Aussie movie Muriel’s Wedding hit the cinemas.
It was also the year Maria Ferrerio started volunteering at one of VMCH’s op shops.
Maria recalls that she used to love visiting VMCH’s Heathmont Op Shop when she was working and raising five children with her husband. She especially enjoyed talking to the friendly staff that worked there.
They obviously liked her too and invited her to join their team of volunteers when she retired from her job as a restaurant cook.
She is still there 25 years later.
“I have been there a long, long time. You meet lovely people. You get to know them, their children and grandchildren. It’s nice. Really nice.”
Her day at the op shop includes serving customers, helping keep the op shop tidy and sorting through donated items.
Her favourite thing is meeting new people and listening to their stories.
“You get to know the customers, they tell you their life stories and it’s really nice.”
Volunteers make a world of difference
The Heathmont Op Shop manager, Anita Gleeson, said volunteers were the heart and soul of the op shop.
They perform the important work of running the store which sells affordable clothes and goods to the local community. It also raises money for many important services VMCH provides. Their dedication to their jobs creates a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Anita said the volunteers enjoy each other’s company. It was also a great place for people that may feel isolated to visit.
The Heathmont volunteers come from all walks of life. There are retirees, people looking for work experience and those who want to try something different.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering with VMCH go to: https://vmch.com.au/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/
National Volunteer Week
It is National Volunteer week from May 20 and a great opportunity to recognise the six million Australian volunteers that make a huge difference to the lives of so many people.
At VMCH, we have more than 650 volunteers who support people in a huge variety of ways at 36 different locations. Our Community and Disability Services, Residential Aged Care, our specialist school, Early Childhood Intervention Services, opportunity shops, warehouses, administration and pastoral care, all depend on the work of volunteers.
This year’s theme for the week-long celebration is Volunteers Make a World of Difference and here at VMCH that is certainly true. We can’t thank them enough.