Meet our Volunteer of the Year – Peter Whitelaw

16 May 2022
Volunteer Peter peeling carrots in our St Kilda Dining Hall

Peter Whitelaw has been a volunteer with Sacred Heart Mission for over nine years, accumulating approximately 1,000 hours of assistance to our community!

This year, Peter received the Volunteer of the Year Award, for demonstrating overall excellence as a volunteer with Sacred Heart Mission. Congratulations Peter!

Peter started as a corporate volunteer in the Dining Hall, and later started volunteering more regularly once his children were teenagers. Peter is now a busy retiree, alongside other projects you’ll find him in the Dining Hall preparing food at least twice a week. “I don’t have time to go back to work!” he laughs.

An all-around nice guy

Kirsty, our Meals Program Coordinator, confirmed that Peter is an outstanding person to work with. “Peter is known to be an all-around nice guy. He’s easy-going, super reliable and truly dedicated to making the lives of those around him easier,” she says.

During his time as a volunteer Peter has worked across several different roles, including supervising groups of volunteers within the kitchen under chefs’ direction.

“I really like working with a range of different people, who have similar interests but are always willing to go the extra mile to support the community,” he says.

Peter was involved in our kitchen refurbishment of the Dining Hall in 2013 and helped pack up the kitchen to a mobile setting outside the former aged care hostel on Robe Street, and then unpacking again when the refurbishment was complete. “There was lots of walking up and down in the rain,” he remembers.

During the pandemic, restrictions meant that volunteers could not assist in the Dining Hall for brief periods and Peter missed his weekly shifts. Once volunteers could return, Peter was keen to be back in the Dining Hall, helping those in need during lockdowns. He’s pleased to see corporate volunteers returning to the Dining Hall and hopes some of them will make a regular commitment to volunteering, as he did.

Peter goes above and beyond for our community

One of Peter’s fondest memories is supervising a team of plumbers who were installing water saving shower heads in each room in our aged care properties, in a State Government initiative. “Many of the residents I knew from the Dining Hall, and I felt very privileged to be trusted to go into their personal space with the tradespeople to ensure they felt safe,” he says.

Volunteer Program Officer Homed says Peter has the tenacity, enthusiasm and willingness to go above and beyond in everything he does.

“Peter is always willing to offer a helping hand through the many programs of Sacred Heart Mission – checking in with the Volunteer team to see if he can help out in any way, filling in extra shifts, even helping to move furniture around our sites,” Homed says.

Peter views Sacred Heart Mission’s core role as a gateway, providing a regular supply of food to our community and a stepping-stone for clients into accessing services on their own terms – key ingredients to a more secure future.

To anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, Peter says contributing to the organisation is extremely satisfying because “you get to learn new skills, meet new people and have fun.”

Volunteer with us
Join Peter and our more than 900 other volunteers who make a tremendous difference in our community.