Judi Farrer has volunteered in our welcoming Dining Hall – which is the heart of Sacred Heart Mission – for 23 of its 37-years history.
During the past two decades Judi says much has changed at the Meals Program, but its focus on welcoming and accepting people as they are remains central to its purpose.
“The movement the founding members of the Mission started was wonderful to begin with, but what it has turned into is amazing,” Judi says.
“Over the years I’ve come to realise the ripple effect our volunteering has – whether I’m chopping veggies for soup or serving meals, I know that these simple tasks are done with love and allow us to achieve wonderful things for the community.”
Judi believes hundreds of people who are experiencing homelessness, social disadvantage or isolation come to enjoy a nutritious meal at the Dining Hall because of the highly-skilled Mission staff who make them feel welcome day after day.
“It is the Mission’s non-judgemental approach to helping people that has kept me coming back every month for 23 years,” Judi says.
“Everyone at the Mission just ‘clicks’; working together to get the job done and create a safe place for people to go.”
Judi has met many different people accessing the Dining Hall over the years, including a man who came in for a meal and, as he took his plate, wanted to pay her.
Judi assured him repeatedly there was no need to pay. He seemed to accept that eventually and she went back to her task. When she turned around a few minutes later she saw that he had found a bucket and mop and was washing the floor.
“I was blown away by his gratitude and his need to contribute; I see this sort of response from clients often and it still brings tears to my eyes, especially when you think of the hard place they might be in,” she says.
“I would highly recommend volunteering at the Mission to anyone.”
“Depending on the hand fate deals out, any of us could suddenly land in a vulnerable situation, and require the support of services like those provided by the Mission.”
Judi says an added bonus to her involvement with the Mission is her children realising how fortunate they are.
“Thanks to my volunteering here, my children have a strong awareness of the need to help those less fortunate in society, which is something I always wanted for them,” she says.
“I just love volunteering at the Mission and I’ll probably still be here in another 23 years.”
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