Volunteers Week is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful contribution Orange and district-based volunteers have made to the operations at Ronald McDonald House Orange. Since the first family arrived in 2015, volunteers have clocked up an extraordinary 60,300 volunteer hours at the house. The volunteers are vital to the running of the house, and are rostered on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Volunteers are able to nominate the type of contribution they would like to make, whether it is cleaning and housekeeping, administration, overnight volunteering, cooking, garden maintenance or fund raising. Executive Officer of RMH Orange, Rebecca Walsh, said volunteers were vital to everything they did. "We simply could not do the work we do supporting our families, without our volunteers who give so selflessly to help families in their time of need".
Currently there are 100 volunteers on the roster and the volunteers range from those aged in their 20's to those well past there 60's. Rebecca said there was a strong mix of people from those who work full-time or part-time, to stay at home mums and people who are semi or fully retired.
'What we have with our volunteers is a wonderful mix of life experience," she said. "Every day when myself and our house manager, Bronwyn Cooper, come to work we are so grateful for their passion and dedication to make life a little easier for others - it is very inspiring".
There is a great rhythm to the way RMH Orange operates. The daytime shift for the first volunteers begins at 8am and the first task for the cleaning and housekeeping shift is to check in with the house manager Bronwyn Cooper for an overview of what needs to be done.
The volunteers get to work stripping and remaking the beds and thoroughly cleaning rooms, then set about giving the communal kitchen area a full clean, along with the lounge and play areas. The first of the administration volunteers then arrive, to assist with the many daily tasks essential to the operation of the house.
All volunteers work a maximum of three hours on their shift so it's not long before the afternoon administration volunteers arrive, while during the day the gardening volunteers tend to the gardens and get the lawns mowed.
At 6pm it's time for the overnight volunteers to arrive and they get settled in to the overnight volunteers room and are ready to help..