Our volunteers have been a pillar of support at the Mission since we began operations in 1982, including Jeanne, who is retiring after tirelessly helping us at our op shops over the past 20 years.
Jeanne, 81 years old, has seen monumental changes at the Mission, like the opening of our series of op shops over the years, which always created a buzz of excitement in the community.
“I was there when the first six Sacred Heart Mission op shops opened and they were always really fun; people would queue down the streets, waiting to step inside. The volunteers and myself had a fun time serving and processing sales for hours,” Jeanne says.
Jeanne has always had a close connection to St Kilda, working for more than 40 years as a teacher in Melbourne, including at the old Sacred Heart Primary, before volunteering at the Mission.
“I always felt the most important people I’d be working with or for are people living on the fringe. People I would see, especially in the later years, sleeping rough on Fitzroy Street and then they’d come into the op shop; I’d give them clothes and take care of them and it gave me a lot of pleasure to do that,” Jeanne explains.
“Often when I’d come into the shop in the morning, ‘Old Richard’, a client at the Mission, would be sitting outside the shop on the step, smoking, and he’d come in, sometimes needing shoes and he’d love to have a chat. I always enjoyed catching up with him and the other clients. Richard passed away in 2008 but he was an icon at the Mission and lots of others like that.”
Jeanne too is considered an icon at the Mission for her exceptional work, warmth, care, and willingness to make time for anyone at our op shops or events.
Her unwavering support during pivotal moments at the Mission ensured our op shops ran smoothly and we value her enormous contribution.
“Volunteering at Sacred Heart Mission has been a very important part of my life and very rewarding; I can look back and feel I’ve made a big contribution,” Jeanne says.
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