Patrick Barrett: Volunteer retail worker at Abbotsford Salvation Army Op Shop

Man with books behind him smiling.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week 2021 we’re sharing six stories from some of the incredible people who volunteer in the City of Yarra.

Patrick’s Story

Patrick volunteers at the Salvation Army retail store in Abbotsford. As a booklover he naturally gravitated towards the book department and loves helping customers find what they need.

Resources like the Salvation Army’s op shop play an important role at many levels. This includes providing for the material needs of the community as well as reducing environmental impact by recycling clothes, furniture and other household items.

Like many charities, the Salvos rely heavily on help from volunteers.

What made you want to volunteer?

Patrick has volunteered in some capacity, between studying and working, since his twenties.

He first volunteered at Headway, a head injury support service, after recovering from an accident in the early 1980s.

Fast forward 35 years and Patrick has found himself in a role that brings him joy as it aligns with his passion for books.

What do you love about volunteering at The Salvos?

“I love being a positive role model for my children.”

“I value the recognition I receive (from co-workers, volunteers and from the customers) and volunteering helps my mental health and personal wellbeing by staying balanced.”

He also benefits on a personal level from the regularity of the couple of short days he volunteers his time each week at the Salvos store.

What skills have you gained?

Patrick volunteers in the book section where he helps out with sorting, pricing, shelving, maintaining displays (and often dusting) of an assortment of reading material donated to the charity store.

Being so friendly, he also gets roped into customer service duties and answering the odd question from people browsing in the shop.

Any advice for people looking to volunteer?

When seeking volunteer opportunities, Patrick recommends having a look at relevant websites to get an initial picture of what is available, where and what is required.

“After establishing the nature of your own interest (books in my case), it’s probably best just to approach an organisation directly and show your level of interest, knowledge and availability. Then see how you can fit into that workplace and if it works for your own needs.”

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization/author(s)and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.