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Community Aroha:

How our volunteers have been doing over the Covid-19 Lockdown

“The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of their commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”

There’s something to be said for the way this organisation has been blessed with so many wonderful volunteers. They’re a huge part of what makes Ronald McDonald House South Island so special.

It was with a heavy heart that we pushed pause on our volunteer activities prior to the official Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Many are retirees who help as a way of giving back and staying connected to their communities. They are the backbone of what we do at the House, helping us out with everything from housekeeping, administration, gardening, maintenance, fundraising, baking, wrapping presents and creating gift packs for families. Some have big family “bubbles”, and others spent the lockdown alone. Whatever their background, these volunteers are part of our House family.

They were so supportive and understanding of our decision to pause activities, and keen to help however they could if needed. In turn we wanted to make sure we could support them during this time.

Over the first two weeks of the lockdown, our team members rang each of our volunteers for a good ol’ fashioned chinwag as we would usually do during our daily morning teas at the House. But we also wanted to provide a platform where they could talk to each other and share their days if necessary, as well as interact with team members, and so we created a private Facebook group.
Needless to say, it has been a joy seeing everyone reach out to each other and sharing their day to day lives.

As one volunteer David posted,
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
What is most important in the world?
The people, people, people.

We look forward to the day we can meet again.


Lockdown Lowdown

Ronald McDonald House South Island volunteers share what they have been up to during the Covid-19 lockdown

Robyn Cumberpatch

Tuesday is my favourite day of the week and I am missing being at Ronald McDonald House immensely. But the time during lockdown hasn’t gone slowly. I have gardened, sewed, gone on daily walks, puzzles, baked and I am about to start a major project- sorting through 50 years of photos! I’m happy in my bubble and through modern technology like FaceTime and Zoom, I’ve been able to keep in touch with family and friends. But I’ll be so happy when the bubble widens enough to let me go back to my normal Tuesdays spent at the House.


Gay Goodman

It seems like months since I was last able to volunteer at my favourite charity Ronald McDonald House. It is such a wonderful place to go to every week and the friendliness of the staff and the other volunteers is awesome. I think the House attracts people who CARE to work there so we all have it in our hearts to help families who are going through a tough time with a sick child or waiting to have a new baby. Although I am in a one-person bubble I have tried to keep myself occupied with gardening, reading, painting, jigsaws, walking, listening to music , watching TV so I am not bored, but I really look forward to the day when we can go back to help at this wonderful place.


Margaret Bradshaw

I always look forward to Tuesdays. Over the years I have made some dear friends at the House. Everyone is always pleased to see you and ask how things are going in your life. There are always lots of laughs which is good therapy for everyone. The days in lockdown have been very different. Fortunately the amazing weather has allowed me to get outside into the garden where I spend a lot of time. Knitting and embroidery have been started up again and of course I have a pile of books to read. Our Labrador “Welly” has become accustomed to our daily walks along the stopbanks of the Ashley River.


Anna Engelbrecht

I have been enjoying my days spending quality time with my husband Nick and kids Maddie, Claudia and Henry. We have played family board games, table tennis, cooking, baking, painting bedrooms, office work, gardening and lots of walking the dog. The kids all play football, and so I’ve spent this time learning a new skill – juggling. My record is six in a row, which isn’t that good but is better than what I started with! I’ve also been working on a family tree which has been really interesting. I really miss the people and staff at Ronald McDonald House and particularly the families at CHOC who I usually see every week. Can’t wait till I can return with cheese scones!!


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