In Great Company this Christmas

Jan 16, 2020

As we all gathered with our friends and families to celebrate Christmas this year, a very special story was unfolding at In Great Company.

One of the Feros Central team, Julia, contacted us to share the story of a gentleman who had called her in crisis. John, a senior living in the Coolangatta area, had experienced several strokes and was having some difficulties. He received limited weekly services from another provider who had closed over the Christmas period, and this had left John with no way of shopping, preparing food, or accessing his community. John had some meals being delivered, and was dividing these up to make them last, enjoying no fresh food at all.

Kindness warriors go!

Julia set to work as a kindness warrior, thinking outside the box, and knowing just who to call – she got in touch with the In Great Company team. Shannon, our Volunteer Coordinator, set to work to see if we had some volunteers who could support John by visiting him and helping to prepare some fresh food for him.

Five volunteers came forward almost immediately and said they would be delighted to help out, and she set to work, organising a roster, and ensuring that someone could help each day throughout the festive season.

Not the end of the story….

The next day the team decided to do a shout out for some donations to a hamper, so that John could enjoy fresh food without the worry of cost at Christmas, and the donations started to pour in from colleagues and volunteers.

Just by chance, In Great Company received an application for volunteering from a lady who was hoping to become a volunteer in time for Christmas, in memory of her son who had passed away. The screening process meant that she wouldn’t be able to visit in time for Christmas, however Shannon shared how a hamper was being created for John and asked if she would like to contribute in memoriam.

Lisa visited the Coolangatta office on Friday 20 December, where she met Julia, Shannon and Emma, and presented a whole shopping trolley of fresh groceries and treats for John. Plenty to help him enjoy an amazing Christmas.

As Emma thanked her and explained how much this would mean to John, Lisa simply shared that this donation meant more to her and her family this Christmas than she could ever express. We cannot wait to have Lisa join us as a volunteer.

Julia also invited John in to join the Feros Central team to celebrate Christmas lunch with their clients. John was delighted to join in, and even shared that Julia had kindly helped him to look respectable on the day by buttoning his shirt.

Santa taxi go!

Emma contacted Feros Care Residential Village Wommin Bay, to see what was happening on Christmas day at the village, and ask if John could join in. The lovely manager, Letitia, confirmed that Christmas lunch and entertainment was the theme of the day, and that they would be delighted to welcome John.

Kim Bruton from Feros Learn offered her services to be John’s volunteer transport, taking him and collecting him from the village. She wanted her family to join in and understand the importance of volunteering at Christmas, and so Kim and her son Coby collected and transported John, in their Christmas hats. Kim said “As we went to collect John in the afternoon, we could see him through the window laughing with his new friends. It was so lovely.

“On the way home we took John for a drive through Kingscliff as he mentioned he hadn’t been there in years, and he and my mum, who came with me, pointed out all the changes in recent years. Don’t we have the best jobs ever when we can work as part of a team of kindness warriors to make this all happen,” Kim said when telling her part of the Christmas tale.

Nearly the end of the story…

John had fresh food and volunteers visit him throughout the Christmas break, and had a wonderful day with everyone. He also spent a fantastic festive day at Wommin Bay Village, enjoying the entertainment, amazing food, and welcoming new friends into his life.

Woman and senior man smiling with plate of food
Julia and John at Christmas lunch

Words from John

Emma Moore, Program Manager from In Great Company, spoke with John afterwards, and he shared some more comments on his wonderfully merry Christmas, and the fact that he was just blown away by it all.

“My previous service provider decided to close down for Christmas, and I was so stuck. Having had a stroke, I can buy the food, but I can’t cook anything.

“Not only did I receive an amazing hamper, filled with fresh food, but all these volunteers came over Christmas and cooked so many beautiful meals for me. The first lady (Julie) made 12 fresh meals, and the second came and even brought her own pressure cooker with her as I mentioned I had a piece of steak. Wendy came to cook the steak and make some more meals, and what did she turn up with, only a massive homemade chocolate cake!

“Andrew called too, checking in on my welfare, and asking if I would like a visitor, and I was so busy by then, I didn’t know how to fit him in. Can you believe that?

“Once I saw Wommin Bay, I also changed my mind about, you know, the dreaded words… care home. It gave me a whole new perspective, and the people were so nice.

“I don’t know what I would have done without Feros Care and In Great Company. I am due to get my new package services soon, and the lovely Julia keeps me updated on its progress, and the team from In Great Company have told me I can continue to have the support of the volunteers which I am just delighted about.”

The end of the story!

An absolutely massive shout out to everyone who was involved in this story. Julia, who caught this dream and started to weave the solution, and Shannon, who contacted all the volunteers and coordinated their visits.

Most of all we want to thank those who volunteered their time over their own Christmas break to bring light and so much kindness to John. To the volunteers, Julia, Wendy, Julie, Andrew, Kim, Coby, and Kim’s mum! We could not have done this without you all.