Marthe’s journey to volunteering for JRS

volunteer Marthe assisting with JRS's food bank program

Every client who comes to the Arrupe drop-in centre is facing dire circumstances, but they take on each day with a bravery, strength and dignity that I so admire. It forces me to look at the broader picture and appreciate just how lucky I am.

I began volunteering at JRS after losing two of the closest people in my life.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced and I knew if I wanted to get through it, I needed to find something worthwhile to do with my time.

Why I chose JRS

JRS’s mission really stuck a chord with me because I too had once been a stranger in this country. At eighteen I’d married my husband in Mauritius and a month later we were on a boat heading for Australia.

I thought it was going to be the adventure of a lifetime, and it was. But it was also incredibly hard. We didn’t have much and we’d left behind our support network of family and friends.

We’d only been in Australia for a short time when I came down with the worst case of measles. It was then that I met volunteers from the Salvation Army. They visited me, brought me food and cared for me while my husband looked for work. It was the first time since arriving that I felt like I could really begin a new life here. It was the sort of kindness you can never forget.

Why I love volunteering for JRS

Volunteering at JRS is an opportunity for me to pass that kindness on to those in our community who need it most.

Working in the food bank programme means I get to meet so many amazing people, all of them seeking asylum in Australia. I see how difficult it is for them to accept our help. They are extremely grateful and need JRS’s assistance desperately, but at the same time what they’d really like is the opportunity to work, the chance to contribute meaningfully to our community.

Every client who comes to the Arrupe drop-in centre is facing dire circumstances, but they take on each day with a bravery, strength and dignity that I so admire. It forces me to look at the broader picture and appreciate just how lucky I am.

People doing good in the community

We always hear about the bad things going on in the world—when we turn on the TV or the radio, when we read the news. But volunteering at JRS restores your faith in humanity. It shows you that there’s just as many people trying to do good out there too.

Volunteering at JRS has helped me cope with my grief and everything else that was going on in my life. The incredible staff and volunteers have become life-long friends. In them I’ve found the support I need to begin this new chapter of my journey. In the clients of JRS I’ve found the inspiration to keep moving forward.

While it might be a cliché, I’ve discovered at JRS that what they say about volunteering is one hundred per cent true—you do always get so much more than you give.

Like Marthe, you too can help JRS continue our mission to assist people seeking asylum by volunteering or by giving a tax deductible donation

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