Wave your appreciation for volunteers this Volunteer Week

For National Volunteer Week (18-24 May), Volunteering Australia is calling on all Australians to ‘wave your appreciation’ for volunteers by sharing a photo of themselves waving their hand to say thanks.

This year has tested our Australian spirit as we have dealt with devastating droughts, fires and floods, not to mention a global pandemic that will change the way we live. While we go through this time of change, our country will continue to be held together by our resilient volunteers who dedicate their time to the community.

Amidst the pandemic, while many of us have stayed home, volunteers in essential services have remained on the frontline. Volunteers have been packing food deliveries, checking in on the elderly, supporting families and helping others through these tough times.

We spoke with Gold Coast charity worker and passionate volunteering advocate Lauren Fenwick recently, who was able to give us some idea of what things were like on the ground, trying to supply food for vulnerable members of the community, as shopping shelves were being stripped bare and social distancing meant the shut down of commercial kitchen and gathering spaces.

“Our homeless community are at an increased risk not being able to isolate anywhere and generally having lower immune systems. They still need clean clothes, food and support at this time,” she explained. “The real impact is that supplies are drying up FAST… our food programs aren’t able to run without food donations.

“So yes, we’ve been impacted not because we don’t want to help but because we don’t have supplies. It’s like a nightmare we can’t wake up from.”

In an ordinary year, a third (31%) of Australians volunteer their time, contributing 128 hours of their time to the community. This year however between an onslaught of natural disasters and a global pandemic, volunteers have gone above and beyond, which is why Volunteering Australia is calling on all Australians to ‘wave your appreciation’ to volunteers this week.

CEO of Volunteering Australia, Adrienne Picone says this extraordinarily challenging year has shone a spotlight on the power of the unpaid workforce in Australia.

“With such need, we are working hard to promote safe and effective volunteer working conditions and encourage Volunteer Involving Organisations to do the same.

“It is more important than ever that we thank and recognise volunteers this National Volunteer Week.” Adrienne says.

This National Volunteer Week (18 May –24 May), Volunteering Australia is calling on all Australians to ‘wave your appreciation’ for volunteers by sharing a photo of themselves waving their hand of thanks using the hashtags #NVW2020 and #waveforvolunteers.

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