This National Volunteer Week (May 18-24), Sunshine Coast Council has thanked the unsung heroes working away and providing a pillar of support during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
More than 1800 local residents registered with Volunteering Sunshine Coast to provide support and assistance during COVID-19, particularly through calls for support to Queensland’s Care Army which across the state has received more than 25,000 calls for help since it was activated in March.
Council has regularly met with local community groups during the pandemic as a member of the Sunshine Coast Human Services and Social Recovery Sub-Group.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast community spirit had certainly lived up to this year’s National Volunteer Week theme – Changing Communities, Changing Lives.
“During these unprecedented times many people in our community are experiencing just how much our volunteers are contributing to making the lives of others better,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We have countless organisations on the Sunshine Coast who are always there to provide a helping hand to those who need it, and they are the essence of the social fabric of our community.
“To every single volunteer, we say thank you for your outstanding commitment.”
Those providing Care Army assistance helped with providing general labour, administration, personal assistance and medical services.
During COVID-19, the Red Cross conducted telephone outreach calls daily through its tele-check service called Covid Connect, while Comlink provided an impressive 1250 door knock welfare checks in one week alone on the Sunshine Coast.
Suncoast Christian Care delivered food hampers while Lifeline provided crisis services through its 13 11 14 dedicated hotline – with Good Friday being its busiest day on record.
IFYS Executive Manager for Community Services Vicky Meyer said her team of staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly during COVID-19, helping to generate and distribute more than 4000 cooked meals during the last four weeks and delivering other essential items to those who needed it.
Additionally, IFYS provided social and emotional support to individuals and families experiencing social isolation and homelessness, through community outreach and at locations across the Sunshine Coast.
“Our volunteers truly are amazing and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication during this challenging time,” Ms Meyer said.
Volunteering Sunshine Coast CEO Cheryl Harris said now, more than ever, it was important to recognise volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
“Incredibly, they have gone above and beyond to help those most in need during COVID-19,” Ms Harris said.
Sunshine Coast Council has more than 2000 registered volunteers across a suite of council programs including Sunshine Coast Libraries, Sunshine Coast Stadium, Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and its art galleries.
To explore the range of volunteering opportunities both at Sunshine Council and across other organisations, visit council’s home page, click on ‘living and community’ and navigate to volunteering: https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Volunteering
The following links to TED talks provide some insight into the personal benefits of volunteering, why people volunteer and what it means to have compassion and empathy.
Eric Cooper – Volunteering, the beneficial side effects
Joan Halifax – Compassion and the true meaning of empathy
Joyce Bertram – How volunteerism can change your world