You volunteer, yes… but what do you do? Well… over the years I’ve counted jigsaw puzzle pieces, tested toys, unravelled wool, sorted buttons, untangled jewellery, patched clothes, etc, etc, but that’s all at home! The boot of my car is permanently full of lumber and our living room floor is often scattered with the contents of various boxes and bags in the hope of finding some gem or other from which Emmaus can benefit.
You will find me amongst the clothes, toys or bric-a-brac at Emmaus Mossley or sometimes on the floor retrieving things long forgotten or hidden. I can be upstairs in ‘no-mans-land’ where I am in danger of never being seen again under the piles of clothes, bedding or other unmentionables.
Sometimes friends or acquaintances ask me questions such as ‘will Emmaus take this or that, do they pick up such a thing, can I buy so and so there?’ Little do they realise that I am but a small cog in a very big concern and I have to point them in the right direction for the answer. However, I do more or less know the layout and where things can be found but there has been, and is, constant change and development brought about by the team of companions, trustees and staff in response to the changing needs of our society.
As volunteers, we need to respond to that enthusiasm and drive. Like my job of work – it is never boring here and to use a quote from Coronation Street’s Bet Lynch some years ago, you have to say ‘this is not a smile – it’s the lid on a scream’ (especially when you look at the shop floor a couple of days after a major tidy up).
I love what I do. It is a pleasure to work alongside people who have vision and hope. So the answer to the initial question? I hope I speak for all the volunteers by saying that we simply try to make things better.