Volunteers needed at hospice shop

Work for love . . . Lauren Finch and Pauline Groves stand by to welcome new volunteers at Milton’s Hospice Shop. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

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More volunteers are needed for the Milton Hospice shop, whose staff know service is its own rich reward.

‘‘It’s a community thing. People look at how they benefit from the time and effort of others and feel like giving something back,’’ shop manager Pauline Groves said.

Otago Community Hospice supports people of all ages with terminal illnesses — and their carers — through palliative care and bereavement, and its retail shops are major contributors to the organisation’s fundraising goal of $2.5 million each year.

Local volunteer Lauren Finch has helped for five years at the Milton shop.

‘‘I was a customer for many years, and like so many people I’ve been touched by Hospice’s work with family and friends.

‘‘Dealing with a dying loved one would be incredibly hard to do on your own.

‘‘A lot of our donations are given out of gratitude for the help ordinary people had from Hospice,’’ Mrs Finch said.

Most donations arrive at the front door during regular business hours and everything needs to be inspected, sorted and priced before being displayed.

Volunteers learn simple computer and transaction skills so they can serve at the counter as well as help customers during busy periods.

‘‘The best part is just being friendly and ready to help. I really enjoy helping somebody put together an outfit, or the gratitude you get just for the kindness of helping an elderly customer get something to their car.

‘‘Not long ago a lady asked if I could hold her new baby while she tried something on, which was lovely,’’ Mrs Finch said.

The store has 12 volunteers and is always interested in hearing from more keen and willing people.

Shop positions are filled by volunteers, and one friendly tradie volunteers free electrical work, while another volunteer repairs clothing at home.

‘‘We’re really grateful and we make it as easy as possible. The more volunteers, the more flexibility we have,’’ Mrs Groves said.

‘‘We have volunteers from as far away as Clydevale and Lawrence, donating their petrol as well as their time because of the camaraderie.

‘‘It’s social and fun, and we really look forward to the time we get together at the shop.’’