The reward of being an SJC volunteer
A great many of our St John’s Care clients receive Centrelink benefits. Therefore, because of their low income we are well aware that they can have difficulty coping with any unexpected or large bills that they cannot pay on time.
Less frequently, we meet clients who have steady part-time jobs. Unfortunately, these jobs can be risky when there is only just enough income to make a person ineligible for financial support from Centrelink.
Consequently, over time, their earnings are not enough to cope with private sector rental as well as food, utilities, phone, medical care etc. A dependent partner’s needs can also contribute to the financial load.
Jennifer (not her real name) found it really hard to come to SJC to seek help in such a situation.
Our volunteer greeted her warmly after the usual offer of tea or coffee. We quickly assured her that absolutely anybody can find themselves having to seek help when issues converge. She had done really well to manage for so long.
It is one of the greatest rewards of volunteering at SJC to see a client begin to relax as they feel understood, are treated with respect and above all warmth. They can see that we want to do our best to make a difference for them.
In Jennifer’s case we started with some good food (as we always do), helped with a phone bill and organised an appointment with her GP.
Jennifer disclosed that she had not seen her doctor for three years due to the cost. We called the clinic and arranged for her to be a bulk billed client.
We also called Housing to follow up on her application and commenced work on a support letter for her. We talked for some time about services she may wish to access in the future and how we can support her in doing this.
When leaving, Jennifer asked if she could come back soon and talk more. She explained that she really didn't have anyone she could discuss these matters with. We agreed, of course, and we made an appointment with our Community Worker, Steph.
We wish Jennifer well and feel assured that she is moving forward on a path that she feels she can cope with. You may have noticed that we have changed the “Wish List” to “Items required”. This is to highlight the importance of these items being needed right now. We always appreciate your generosity, but one item from the list below would be better than any others at present.
Items required: Vegemite, Cup-A-Soup, Biscuits (savory and sweet), olive oil or cooking oil (500mls and 1 litre)