To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Lutheran Care is acknowledging our hardworking and dedicated volunteers, whose passion for helping others makes it possible for us to help so many people in our communities.
Our volunteers’ commitment to our programs has a significant impact on the people we support; from those in immediate need of food and financial support, to older people who are socially isolated and in need of friendship, families who visit Family Zone Ingle Farm, or customers of our op shops in need of a warm and welcoming smile and friendly and non-judgemental assistance to select what they need.
Lutheran Care has about 250 volunteers assisting with our Op Shops, the Community Visitors Scheme, Emergency Relief, Administration, Christmas Hampers, at our Family Zone parenting hub and on our Board. Latest figures show the average age of a Lutheran Care volunteer is 62 years. The youngest volunteer is 14-years-old and the oldest is 93-years-old! Together our volunteers put in an incredible total of 37,981 hours per year, making the estimated value of volunteer contribution to Lutheran Care $1.77 million.
National Volunteer Week runs from today (15 March) to 21 March and is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is The Change Makers, highlighting that volunteers are the change makers in our communities around the country.
– Are driven to contribute to the greater good
– Are passionate about causes they care about
– Turn their passions into purpose
– The force behind social change
– Give their time and energy to make a difference.
We are very fortunate that our Lutheran Care volunteer base is bursting with change makers and we thank our volunteers for choosing to work alongside us in our mission to build stronger communities.
One of those volunteers is Audrey Stewart, who has been volunteering in our Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) program for 15 years. Her motivation to visit older people who are socially isolated came from when she was 15 years old and in hospital with acute peritonitis – inflammation in the abdomen – without visitors. She knows the feeling of being lonely, and instead of allowing this to make her bitter or angry, she said it has made her the strong person she is today.
Over 15 years, Audrey has visited nine elderly CVS participants and has made over 800 visits. She visited one woman 483 times over a period of nine years. This person had no family, so Audrey was her special friend and took flowers with her every visit.
Another volunteer, Irene Strelan, has been volunteering with Lutheran Care for 22 years and is assisting in our Blair Athol Op Shop and with Emergency Relief. Irene is well known within the community and respected by her fellow volunteers. She encourages customers to look around the store to find hidden treasures and is forever moving stock to ensure the shop looks refreshed.
Then there’s Ken Rosenzweig, who is a volunteer at Elcies Tanunda. Our Elcies stores in Tanunda, Semaphore and Norwood are Lutheran Care’s ‘higher end’ op shops, and Ken makes it his mission to sell as many higher pricetag items as possible in Tanunda every Thursday to boost fundraising so Lutheran Care can assist more people in the Barossa community. His creative window displays inspire shoppers to enter the store, and he continues to go above and beyond, and not just for Elcies, but with other community groups as well.
While these insights are just a small part of what our incredible volunteers do, it is evident that without our volunteers, Lutheran Care would not be able to provide the services and supports that we offer. Our volunteers are an essential part of team and we thank them for truly making a difference in our communities.
To celebrate National Volunteer Week and to show our appreciation, Lutheran Care is hosting three volunteer lunches in Adelaide, Mount Barker and the Barossa. We look forward to sharing photos from these events in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in volunteering with Lutheran Care, we would love to have you join our team. Find out how you can get involved.