Days before Norma Seeney was about to retire she met a baker that would change her life. He was a long-term customer of the bank where she was working. She told him she was looking to volunteer after retirement. He regularly donated bread to Anglicare and promptly gave her the contact details of the organisation’s manager in Campbelltown.
Norma retired four years ago in October and by December, she was volunteering for Anglicare in their Food and Financial Assistance program. She hasn’t looked back since.
December is one of the busiest times for the Church based, not-for-profit organisation. As the year draws to its close and Christmas looms, they get a lot of people asking for assistance. Families who have struggled all year, desperate to have something nice to eat on Christmas day and some toys for the kids under the tree. All luxuries they cannot afford.
Anglicare provides modest Christmas food hampers and some toys during December, and it was Norma’s job to distribute them.
“It was, and is, an incredibly busy time,” Norma explains. “But it’s also worthwhile to see the looks on people’s faces; to see their appreciation for the food and gifts.”
A typical day at Anglicare for Norma starts with a list of appointments of people who have come to Anglicare looking for food or help with the utility bills.
She comes across a lot of need and desperation, but she says it is “rewarding to help many people in genuine distress. You feel like you are making a difference in their lives. Absolutely.”
There are days when Norma comes home heart-broken for the people she’s seen. And other days when she feels like she has empowered them by showing them how to advocate for their needs.
“Volunteering helps me keep in touch with the real world. It also keeps my brain active as well as helping others,” says Norma.
“If people are interested in helping the community in this way, I urge them to give it a go. It’s not for everyone, but if you are compassionate and non-judgemental, volunteering for Anglicare’s Food and Financial Assistance Program could be the thing for you.”
For more information about volunteering for Anglicare’s Food and Financial Service email [email protected] or call 0438 831 677.
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