That’s Dot O’Neill, she’s 76 years old and has been volunteering at Transit in Narre Warren for more than seven years.

Dot told us about her experience as a volunteer in Melbourne’s South East and said it was an opportunity to give back to the community.

“We’ve got a bit of everything – pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, noodles, baby food, canned food, jams, Vegemite. Whatever we’ve got, we give out,” she said.

“You get a lot out of it yourself… it’s something really special.”

Transit provides people in need with access to hot meals and groceries, but Dot said there’s another part of the service that is equally important.

“Some of [our guests] actually live on their own and just come here for companionship,” she said.

“Someone came in the other day and said ‘I pick up [groceries] not because I necessarily need it but because I need to get here and talk to people.’

“The atmosphere here is amazing. If you’re here for a while, you’ll see that we’ve got a team of volunteers that come in and give of themselves and at the moment, we’ve just got this lovely, friendly atmosphere.”

Dot said she felt part of a community at Transit and valued the opportunity to connect with people doing it tough.

“A lot of these people you get to know really personally. You sometimes hear the story of their life and you just feel that love for them,” she said.

“Having a mother come in here with her daughter and say to me ‘I’ve given food to my daughter but I haven’t been able to eat for a few days because I’ve just had absolutely nothing,’ that’s not an uncommon story.

“One woman had been moved from place to place and she had absolutely nothing. Just recently, she got a home and it’s just a real blessing to here.

“These are the sort of stories that really mean so much to us.”

Orange Sky operates at Transit in Narre Warren every Monday afternoon. Visit our volunteer page to find out more and register to get involved.

Orange Sky operates at Transit in Narre Warren every Monday afternoon.
Visit our volunteer page to find out more and register to get involved.

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