Orange Sky on the Sunshine Coast recently celebrated its fourth birthday, but we did not celebrate.

As a team of 70 volunteers, we are not able to serve and connect with our friends due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is devastating for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable members of our community.

All the volunteers are missing our connection to our friends at this time, especially when we feel we are most needed.

We all miss the connection and being able to check in on our friends. After four years on the Sunshine Coast, our volunteers have connected with friends in lots of ways we didn’t realise we could. But we are also missing the connection that our friends in the community give us, in accepting us for no other reason than they like the connection as well.

We are missing attending shift and putting out the six orange chairs that is Orange Sky’s symbol of ‘come have a seat and a chat, all welcome,’ but we are also missing the banter, jokes and clever conversions that happen on shift.

We are missing the connection of knowing our friends are safe; some of our friends do not have the choice of staying at home in comfort, we worry about them as some already have health issues. We also worry about the amazing service providers and whether they are able to continue to provide take away meals to our friends.

We worry because a lot of the places they normally spend their time have closed – are they staying dry, cool, warm and safe from the elements?

We are not sure how long it will be before we are able to go back on shift, but I can assure you we will get back our there at the first chance we have. We will all have the biggest smiles on our faces when we do reconnect with our friends – and then we will celebrate.

Lesley is Orange Sky’s volunteer Service Leader on the Sunshine Coast and does an amazing job of coordinating more than 70 volunteers across 10 shifts every week. Over the past four years, volunteers have provided more than 9,800 loads of washing, 14,700 hours of genuine and non-judgemental conversation and 1,329 shifts between Caboolture and Noosa.

Support volunteers to continue connection with friends doing it tough

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