Mary Mac’s calls for more volunteers

Photos: CatholicCare

In celebration of National Volunteers Week, Mary Mac’s Place at Woy Woy is putting out the call for volunteers to help provide support and companionship to vulnerable members of the community.

The organisation was launched by parishioners of St John the Baptist Church Woy Woy, and their work has continued through CatholicCare, supported by a number of dedicated volunteers.

Mary Mac’s project worker, Sally Liedberg, said the organisation is indebted to the work of their volunteers.

“Our best volunteers really care about the work that we do – they support vulnerable people in our community in a non-judgemental way, providing a listening ear and companionship,” Liedberg said.

“They care about the wellbeing of our companions and always uphold each person’s dignity and confidentiality.

“Our volunteers cook a nutritious meal for 60 to 70 people each weekday, provide crisis intervention referrals for people in need of support, food hampers and assist with shower and washing machine services.

“We only have one paid worker onsite … we cannot operate Mary Mac’s without our incredible volunteers.”

Mary Mac’s currently hosts free outreach services onsite such as Orange Sky, Health on the Streets, Uniting Doorways, and a hairdresser.

As the organisation does not receive any formal funding, this work is able to continue through the generosity of the community in providing donations and grants.

Liedberg said she has had many heart-warming experiences during her time at Mary Mac’s, but has also seen a rise in need due to the impacts of COVID-19.

“There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone who is homeless and in need of intensive support – we see this a lot,” Liedberg added.

“We partner with local services to help our companions gain housing whilst building a relationship with them through that process [and] seeing them smile when they come in for lunch and a chat – that’s very special.

“Not all our companions are homeless – some are feeling isolated at home alone or just need some extra food support to add to the weekly budget.

“We’re definitely seeing more families coming in needing support due to COVID-19 impacting their work and home lives.

“We have also seen an increase in domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

“JobKeeper also impacted many families negatively as many lost jobs when companies no longer had access to this funding.

“Sole income earners in families are finding it hard to maintain a tenancy and stay on top of their bills.

“So, we’re here for them, and everyone else.”

The service is currently located at the Ethel Cox Centre in Woy Woy at 100 Blackwall Rd and is open Monday to Friday, 6am till 1pm.

Maisy Rae