Ona Rowberry has been volunteering for the RVA supported shopping service, as well her local church. Before the coronavirus outbreak she was a befriender and a volunteer for the Sanctuary Project at The Reading Minster
What made you want to volunteer during the coronavirus outbreak?
Tell us about your volunteering role
Having not been an Asda shopper before, I am now very familiar with where everything is in the shop! This makes shopping much quicker and less stressful. I also like phoning the client to arrange delivery. It’s a short and brief interaction but it makes the person real. And I really don’t care if they’re occasionally a bit difficult. I know it’s not personal and I always make an effort to sound upbeat and like I want to help.
Shopping itself is both tedious and time consuming – to say nothing of the queuing to get in. But I put a lot of effort into getting exactly what the client wants because if you’re confined to your home and can’t go out, little things like having the right brand of ketchup or the right loaf of bread can take on disproportionate importance. I like to bring a smile if I can. And I always engage with people in the queues and generally get 2 or 3 people chatting within the first minute!
I’ve not been a shopping volunteer before, though I’m very active in my local church, where I also coordinate the telephone outreach to the housebound since coronavirus. I’m also part of the live stream team there.
Before coronavirus, I was also a befriender; the coordinator at our church where we hosted Bed for a Night for rough sleepers; and a volunteer at the Sanctuary Project at The Reading Minster, which opens it’s doors on Friday and Saturday nights to anyone who wants to come in – for tea/coffee, a quiet space, someone to talk to etc.