It’s National Volunteer Week this week. Our volunteers fulfil many different roles, from supporting Red Cross shops, to helping refugees with their homework, to ‘being there’ for those going through tough times, to working with us in our daily work, to being on our Board.
Thanks to those who volunteer their hearts, minds, and time so willingly and selflessly; your contributions make lives better and create opportunities for learning, healing and progress.
We've asked some of our volunteers what volunteering means to them. You can listen to the podcasts where volunteers at a prison, a retail store and a knitting group talk about what drives their passion.
Members and volunteers from the NSW South Coast at the Cobargo pub
Four days on the NSW South Coast
It was a busy four days with the regional team on the NSW South Coast. My week started with the annual Jamberoo Zone conference which celebrated some important achievements such as 87 people getting their L’s or their drivers licenses, six families safely housed under the Young Parents Program and 68 Save-a-Mate workshops just to name a few. This is on top of other community work by members and volunteers such as - the annual Red Cross Fun Run in Kiama, the Jamberoo Red Cross Classic Cars day and the Fairy Meadow Spring Fashion Parade. It was also great to hear the local kids at the zone conference sing the first chorus of our national anthem in the local Aboriginal language (Dharawal) and to know that behind that singing was an education in, and understanding of, First Nations heritage.
As part of the week, we visited Wallaga Lake. We play an important supporting role in the Indigenous Wallaga Lake community including supporting home-work clubs, community painting and playground development. We work together with the Ngaardi Women’s Group “because the women hold so much strength in their community and in their families” in their efforts to build community and identity.
Wallaga Lake is also the final resting place of Burnum Burnum. During his life he led a successful movement to reclaim the remains of Truganini from the Tasmanian Museum for cremation; he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and he planted the Aboriginal Flag on the white cliffs of Dover on the Australian Bicentenary Day of 26 January 1988. His headstone reads “Who Reshaped the History of Aboriginal Australia in 1988. A descendent of the Yuin nation; a warrior for peace”. There are so many unmarked graves in the cemetery – plots with just numbers on them where the community know there are remains but not much more. One of the ideas we talked about was inviting a university to x-ray the sites and run DNA testing of the remains in a respectful way so that the Wallaga families could connect with their ancestors.
We went from Kiama down to Merimbula; a region where Red Cross is building on its already long standing presence in support of those who are vulberable.
On the last night on the NSW South Coast, I was able to attend the Community Recovery meeting in Tathra following the fires in March this year which spread quickly in the Tathra area destroying or damaging 70 homes and more properties. Red Cross volunteers were quick to respond at the time and in the last two weeks have made 200 outreach calls to those impacted. We also announced that we'll be bringing on someone for 12 months to support volunteers and members and the community in the recovery. The Mayor of Bega Valley Shire, Councillor Kristy Bain, announced that so far the Mayoral Appeal had raised $1 million from all over the country - the funds will be going to those whose houses were destroyed or tenants of destroyed rental properties.
There was so much else through the week including lunch at the Cobargo Pub with members and volunteers from Cobargo, Bermagui, Bega, Narooma, Bateman's Bay and Moruya.
Bindaring sale on Saturday was a right royal success and the takings of $214,000 worth a celebration
$214,000 raised at the Bindaring Clothing Sale
A total of $214,000 was raised at the Bindaring Red Cross Clothing Sale held on Saturday. Since 1963, the Bindaring Red Cross volunteers have raised funds to support Vital Red Cross services for our communities here in Australia.
This year, volunteers were all dressed in red, wearing donated clothes and accessories, to celebrate the sale's 55th anniversary. The funds raised will help us support more people around the country.
"We are thrilled to have had another very successful year and would like to give a special thank you to our team who make this happen and who are all volunteers" said Veronica Morrissey, President of the Bindaring Unit. "A big thank you too to all our donors and supporters as well as of course all our lovely shoppers. It is wonderful to see so many familiar faces back year on year."