LAST week, on Wednesday 17 May, a Volunteer Mini Expo was conducted at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre in partnership between South Gippsland Hospital (SGH), Manna Gum Community House (MGCH) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service – Victoria (RFDS). In addition to those partners, in attendance were the Red Cross, and Ambulance Victoria.
Five stall holders attracted dozens of interested community members who were able to explore the options available to them, to see how they may wish to contribute their valuable time, and serve our community. In what was a first for Foster, the event was seen as a success.
Co-organiser of the Mini Expo event Annie Pearce, who works at both MGCH and SGH, said “it was such a pleasure to get together and conduct the mini expo in partnership with other well-known community service providers, especially during volunteer week”
Just prior to the expo, 45 volunteers from SGH, MGCH, and RFDS were celebrated and thanked for their contribution to the communities they serve. Catered by the Kitchen Table, a delicious luncheon was held and various leaders spoke to the combined group of volunteers. It was a very relaxed atmosphere full of gratitude and laughs.
Rebecca Matthews, Manager of MGCH, firstly addressed the respective teams of volunteers at the luncheon event.
“At Manna Gum we have over forty volunteers who keep our organisation running. Many of our services simply wouldn’t run without them, including our community café, lunch and emergency relief services. A recent report, placed the monetary value of Manna Gum volunteers at $233,000, which is an incredible amount. The value report doesn’t capture the human and social aspects that volunteers bring to our corner inlet communities.”
Natalie Jones, RFDS Community Transport Coordinator, followed Rebecca and spoke from the heart, saying that “we are so blessed to have such dedicated volunteers. We wouldn’t have a service if it were not for the generosity and care given by you all.”
Paul Greenhalgh, SGH CEO, then provided an outline of the volunteer program at SGH and mentioned that all volunteers are viewed as part of the SGH team. He too thanked everybody and Samantha Park, SGH Director of Community Care closed out the formal speeches by echoing the value and appreciation of everyone in the room, and those who could not make the occasion.
“I take this opportunity to also thank you all, in attendance and to those who could not make it, for contributing to the well-being of our community. Your individual and collective contributions make an enormous difference to so many people. This occasion is just a small way to thank you”.
If you would like to further explore volunteering possibilities at any of the above organisations please contact Annie Pearce at [email protected] and she will put you in touch with the relevant representative.