On most Thursday nights you'll find Elise Fifield volunteering in the kitchen at the Cancer Society's Lions Lodge preparing and serving dinner, and helping with the washing up afterwards.
Since New Zealand went into lock down under alert level 4, Elise has been able to continue volunteering at the Lodge.
"I was nervous about it. But once I did it, it felt so good. As a volunteer at the Lodge you already know how special and important your job is. Once you put aside your own feelings, you realise how much harder it must be for people with cancer to cope with what’s going on. The Lodge takes pride in alleviating some of the stress around having cancer, and this is just another stress people don’t need."
There have been lots of changes of the Lodge in recent weeks to keep guests, volunteers and staff safe. We've had to put an end to communal dining for the time being, with all meals being delivered to our guests' rooms. That means the simple task of serving dinner has become a whole lot more work, so having volunteers like Elise helping out makes a big difference.
"There’s a lot more work involved and it’s less personal, but it feels so much more important than ever before. I’m such a chatty person. Part of the reward you get volunteering at the Lodge is seeing everyone get their meals and saying thank you, so I miss that interaction. But it’s just as meaningful if not more so to continue volunteering now."
Volunteers make an incredible contribution at the Lodge, all year round, so we can continue providing accommodation and meals to people who need to travel long distance for cancer treatment at Waikato Hospital.