National Volunteer Week is a chance to reflect on the incredible impact that New Zealand’s 1.2 million volunteers have – collectively we enrich the country and support those who need it. Our economic value is in the billions. Quite simply, the country couldn’t run without us!
Each year our 2000 volunteers support over 100,000 Kiwis having a tough time; we give them a moment of sweetness in an otherwise crappy day, in the form of a home made treat. But it’s not the cake that makes a difference; it’s knowing that someone cares that uplifts our recipients and helps them heal.
We often focus on the impact of our work for the people we help, but this Volunteer Week, we’ve also tried to highlight what volunteering means to volunteers. We know being kind and helping others has as many benefits for us as it does for those we give to. We all win by being kind.
Our volunteers shared stories about how being a Good Bitch has helped them relax, improved mental health and helped them find new friends and feel connected to their communities. They’ve taught their children about giving and gratitude, and learned about what’s really happening in their towns.
Sarah said “Feeding people is my favourite way to show that I care, and it’s amazing to be able to do it for people who are having a really tough time and need some sweetness in their lives. It’s given me a real sense of connection and community too.”
We also had a special guest volunteer baker who joined us in baking treats for the clients of DCM in Wellington, most of whom are experiencing homelessness. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she loved being a GB for day, and thanked us for showing “love and compassion” to those who need it, and had this special message for all our volunteers. She also heard from Rochelle, a recipient, who said “it gives us self-esteem… we love it, we appreciate it”.
We finished the week off in style, receiving this special message from a group of special recipients. Soundswell Singers is a choir for people suffering from neurological conditions like stroke and Parkinson’s. Many find it hard to speak, but can sing beautifully. As well as neurological benefits, the group provides social connection for people who are often isolated.