These days one of the biggest drawcards that employers can offer staff is the opportunity to volunteer with a charity. For many companies, volunteering at The Salvation Army’s candle-bag packing is an annual pilgrimage, joining an army of volunteers at Woolworths’ Yennora warehouse to pack 8500 bags of donated treats – and candles – for the Carols in the Domain event on Saturday 22 December.
Community Fundraising Coordinator Estelle Mansfield says, “Some companies are fantastic; they come year on year. Just yesterday we asked, ‘Who’s candle-bag-packed before?’ and nearly every single person put their hand up. They keep saying, ‘We’re coming back – see you next year’.”
Proceeds from the bags go to fund Oasis, The Salvation Army’s youth support network. Every five bags sold enables a safe place for someone to sleep.
Building products company CSR has been a Salvation Army supporter since 2003. This is their third year of candle-bag packing, according to Corporate Affairs Officer Margaretta Adam. “It resonates with a lot of people because it’s Australia-wide and what you support is very wide ranging.
“The candle-bag packing is fantastic – great energy, great camaraderie and great fun. CSR really values people being able to donate time,” Margaretta adds. “And employees really value being able to donate their time to a great cause.”
Family history inspires a first timer
First-time volunteer Michael Babekuhl from CHEP (an international company dealing in pallet and container pooling services) has a more personal reason for taking on a packing shift. “My grandfather and his brother went to New Guinea in World War Two; his brother didn’t come back but my grandfather did. He always said, ‘Thank God for the Salvos’ – they had been alongside him there for years. He passed away last year at 95, and even at his funeral the Salvos were there.”
The feel-good factor is everywhere. Margaretta says, “You can tell your friends this is what I did today, this is how many of us volunteered, we had a production line. You’re actually physically doing it and when you watch Carols in the Domain, you say, I helped to get that together.”
To share in the season, you can register for next year – or any of our other volunteering opportunities – by emailing Rebecca Hill on firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget, by attending Carols in the Domain and buying a candle bag, you can bring hope where it’s needed most this Christmas.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?