Introduce yourself! Who are you and what inspired you to volunteer with WAGEC?
Hi, I'm Sonia. I started volunteering for WAGEC a few months ago. I had been getting increasingly frustrated at the news about domestic and family violence and wishing there was some way that I could practically help. That's when I came across WAGEC and am so glad that I did. From the first volunteer induction, I knew this is an organisation that I wanted to work for.
Do you have any highlights of volunteering with WAGEC? If so, what are they?
I love getting to meet the various people who work and live at Jeannie's.
What is the typical day in the life of a volunteer?
I regularly (weekly or fortnightly) head to Jeannie's. I spend two hours each time helping to sort through and organise donations, which are spread across four different storerooms. One storeroom is filled with clothes. We have plenty of donations for clothes for babies through to women. I sort them into boxes and get rid of clothes that are unwearable. Another storeroom is filled with linen. There is usually less to sort here, but the regular donations means that the storage often needs re-arranging.
I spend a lot of time in the room with all the toiletries. Given the high turnover and levels of donations, it frequently needs re-organising. I also help put together the welcome bags that are given to women when they arrive. Each has a basic set of toiletries in it. Finally, there is a room filled with nappies and other bits and bobs. I do occasionally come across unusual donations. Some fake snow flakes or spray on shampoo. Or maybe just some chocolate mixed in with a bag of toiletries. There is always a mystery hiding away in a donated bag or box.
What does community mean to you?
For me, community is about a network of strong, supportive relationships. It's about being brave enough to ask for help when you need it and knowing that there are people around you who care for you and have your back.
What is something you are grateful for or something not many people know about you (e.g. fun fact)?
I love organising things. I consider myself to be a 3D tetris queen. Need something loaded into a car, space, storage room? I'll fit in more than you ever thought was possible.