As part of the lead up to International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD), we caught up with a few of the fantastic Managers of Volunteers here in Marlborough.
Introducing Tania Murphy, the wonderful Store Manager at the Salvation Army Family Store.
Tell us about how you first got involved with the Salvation Army Family Store
The family store was advertising in the church newsletter for volunteers. I was, at the time, working full-time but was happy to go on a monthly roster to help out on a Saturday morning.
What was your first impression?
It felt like I had walked into a normal retail store. The shop was set out really nicely and it smelled fresh. I have memories of going into op shops in my teenage years and the shops smelled musty (old moth ball smell) which was not inviting.
What has surprised you most about working with the Family Store?
The dedication of those who volunteer their time freely with us. Two of our volunteers have been here for 17 years. One of them is 83 years old now and has faithfully kept her 2 shifts every week since she started, only taking time off if she was unwell. Our staff lead busy lives outside of their work here but they give it 100% and more when here.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do here?
There never seems to be enough hours in the day! Life has changed, people have to work these days to make ends meet. We don't have the same volunteer pool to work from that we did when I started here over 9 years ago.
We are still really busy, and dealing with the same volumes coming in that we had when I first started. The challenge for me has been walking away at the end of the day and not stressing over what has to be done tomorrow, otherwise I would find work impacting on my home life. I have learned to delegate more to our volunteers who are all capable workers, and to utilise and work to their strengths.
What's the best thing to happen since you started working here?
The move to our new shop in Redwood Street. It is a lovely, modern shop that has a great feel to it. We love that our customers can just pull up and park right outside without having to fight for a park in town. We are getting a lot more donations coming in as it's so easy to drop off to us here. Our back sorting room is much bigger and user friendly so it's been a big plus all round for us.
What do you wish other people knew about your role with the Family Store?
The Family Store is not just a retail store, it's a Ministry that's part of the Salvation Army.
We are here to make money for a cause, like other charity shops, but the Ministry side is important to me. It's about the people who come in here daily, and the ways that we can support and encourage people. There are a lot of people out there who are lonely and are struggling with their own issues, who come in here just to chat and to have someone to listen and encourage them. There are times when I can re-direct people to our communty ministries for further assistance, whether it be for a food parcel or to go and have a cuppa and a chat to the girls there.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I have been involved with the Salvation Army since I was 13 years old and started going to youth group. I played cornet in the band, helped out with Sunday School and youth group. I still attend the Salvation Army and sing in the church worship team. My faith is very important to me and I have loved having the opportunity to work at the Family Store, challenges and all.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering here?
Give it a go!
We have a great team here who are friendly and fun to work with. It's a great chance to meet new people in the community and to learn new skills.
How would your best friend describe you?
I texted my good friend, Leandra, and this is what she came back with: "I'd describe you as a loyal, dependable, reliable friend. Happy to go the extra mile for people. Hard working. Like to keep busy, have a laugh, and not afraid to give things a go"
If you had an elephant, what would you do with it?
It would create lots of compost for my garden!!