Mercy Works: New Year, New Volunteers
The first training day for Mercy Connect Volunteers in Melbourne for 2021 has been held recently. It had been more than a year since our Melbourne Mercy Connect Coordinator, Sr Mary Lewis and her Assistant Coordinator, Tat Singsa, have been able to hold a Training Day for their volunteers.
The past twelve months have been nothing short of challenging, trying and exhausting. The state of Victoria emerged from one of the toughest lockdowns imposed during this pandemic and was reaping the rewards of their efforts. Cases were confined to hotel quarantine and restrictions were slowly being eased. Hope was spreading amongst the community that better days were close and life was returning to some type of normality.
Weekly Adult Literacy Classes had recommenced at Dandenong Library and the very first Training Day for new Mercy Connect volunteers was scheduled. Then a snap lockdown in the middle of February closed down the state for five days, putting all plans on hold again as uncertainty gripped the state once more.
Despite this setback, the February Training Day went ahead the day after the most recent lockdown ended. Thirty-eight new volunteers attended, learning from and listening to presenters from the Catholic Education Office in Melbourne and Foundation House. You could feel the electricity in the air!
This training day looked remarkably different from any training day held before. Socially distanced seating and volunteers wearing masks reminded everyone of the ever-present danger of an invisible enemy. However with the right precautions anything can be overcome. Individually packed food packages are fast becoming the norm for events to be covid-safe. Tat and Sr Frances prepared over 40 individual food packages for all the volunteers, setting them up on tables for both morning tea and lunch; a very different way of catering.
Training Days take much organisation and preparation to put together. Mary and Tat have been working tirelessly to make these days as successful as possible and it is safe to say that this latest one was a great success.
Mercy Connect Melbourne is only furthering its impact within the community. The addition of thirty-eight new volunteers means more refugee students will be benefiting from support in the classroom as they settle into school.
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