We are incredibly fortunate at Ozcare to have the support of a wonderful team of volunteers who generously donate their time to assist us care for those in need. Adrienne Berry, featured in this story, is one such volunteer.
Adrienne has been volunteering at our Villa Vincent Aged Care Facility in Townsville for three and a half years. This year, she celebrates her sixty-seventh birthday. Like so many older Australians, Adrienne is a pensioner, doing her best to survive on the pension. But instead of putting her feet up and enjoying a life of leisure, Adrienne chooses to dedicate her time to Villa Vincent’s laundry.
Volunteering in the laundry, Adrienne spends her mornings dealing with great bins of clothing (all of which must be sorted before being washed); running several industrial washing machines and dryers then sorting, bagging and hanging the laundered clothing. Although air conditioners are running in the laundry, the room understandably remains warm and steamy. At the end of the process, the racks of clean clothes are delivered to the clients’ rooms and lovingly hung in their wardrobes.
This is demanding work and it requires a high degree of physical stamina. There’s constant standing, sorting, lifting, bending and moving from one point to another. In a space that’s not overly large, this can be challenging. Sometimes the mountains of clothing making their way to the laundry can seem overwhelming, however, Adrienne takes it all in her stride, dealing with them methodically, bin by bin.
So well may we ask, why does she do it? In Adrienne’s own words, “I enjoy the company of the girls I work with. It’s great to catch up on Monday mornings and chat about the weekend.”
Adrienne also values the rapport she has established with many of the clients. Adrienne goes out of her way to care for clients in her capacity as a laundry volunteer.
One client has a set of stuffed toys she likes to keep with her, and Adrienne sees that they are washed regularly and stitched up when wear and tear necessitates. It’s thoughtful actions like this that are appreciated by Villa Vincent’s clients.
What makes Adrienne’s volunteering extraordinary is the length to which she goes to reach the facility from her home. Adrienne does not own a car, so she uses public transport to get to and from Villa Vincent.
This involves walking from her home to catch the bus to the city. She then catches a second bus to nearby shops. On her walk into the facility, she takes the time to visit Villa McAuley retirement village next door and greet residents. Adrienne’s homeward journey involves catching a bus and a taxi home.
Adrienne does all this three mornings a week, at her own expense, with a weekly spend of $36.40 coming out of her pension to pay for the public transport. She explains that the cost is balanced against the rewards of volunteering and the joy her time at Villa Vincent brings her.
Volunteering at Villa Vincent, Adrienne says she feels part of a community, one that she enjoys interacting with and one that brings her a sense of belonging.
At Ozcare Villa Vincent, Adrienne feels useful, engaged and part of a community that welcomes and appreciates her assistance. She is a volunteer in the true sense of the word – she gives her time and skills freely and cheerfully, at some financial cost to herself. This is true dedication to the world of volunteering, and we are incredibly grateful to Adrienne, and all our wonderful volunteers, for their selfless efforts.