Celebrating volunteers: Providing chocolate for Mother's Day

More than 80 boxes of premium chocolate distributed widely in Greenwich Hospital’s wards ensured an unforgettable Mother’s Day this year for patients, visiting families and staff.

mothersday 01 580x452The nice touch was due to a volunteer who saw the opportunity to access the chocolate in her part-time work with a major kitchenware and home furnishings store at Chatswood.

The volunteer Sarah had heard that the COVID-19 downturn for the business and a slow Christmas sales period had left her employer with excess stock of the US-sourced product.

So, Sarah let her employer know she had an idea for how to put the excess stock to good use in the wards at Greenwich Hospital on Mother’s Day.

“It’s normally the type of chocolate that is sold around Christmas so it’s very special,” Sarah said.

HammondCare’s Head of Pastoral Care and Volunteer Services Andrew Nixon said Sarah’s thoughtfulness is one of many examples of the wonderful contribution of volunteers as HammondCare celebrates National Volunteers Week, Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May.

“It shows how a volunteer’s relationship with us can flow into benefits in a wide variety of ways, often unexpected,” Rev Nixon.

“Sometimes it’s free chocolate, sometimes it’s a commitment to service lasting decades and sometimes its donations and bequests. Volunteers are by definition really very generous people,” he said.

Sarah’s thoughtful gesture was even more impressive considering she began volunteering at Greenwich Hospital only last month. She made the decision to become a volunteer after a friend was a patient at Greenwich Hospital’s palliative care ward.

Greenwich Hospital Acting Nurse Unit Manager Susan Hook said the size of the special delivery ensured there was more than enough chocolate to go around the palliative, rehabilitation and mental health wards.

“The chocolate went to mums who are patients, mums of patients, nurses who are mums and then there was still enough left over for others who were not mums,” Ms Hook said.

“This chocolate is amazing. Once you open the box, you can’t stop eating it!”

Greenwich Hospital Volunteer Coordinator, Leanne Broadhead, said Sarah’s organisation of the chocolate delivery made Mother’s Day a truly special occasion.

Ms Broadhead said she was constantly impressed at how Greenwich volunteers find innovative ways to make the hospital a wonderful place. Another volunteer was known for supplying sweets and chocolate bars to be given away when the Happy Hour drinks cart does the rounds.

Another volunteer provides cans of ginger beer, a favourite beverage of many palliative care patients.

“The volunteers are amazing - their hearts are closely entwined in this place,” Ms Broadhead said.

The Peppermint Bark chocolate, a rare treat in Australia, is a combination of layered dark chocolate, white chocolate and sweet white candy. The chocolate, which usually sells for $45 a box, was supplied by Williams Sonoma, located in Chatswood Chase.

Caption: Acting Palliative Care Nurse Unit Manager Susan Hook, with the Mother's Day chocolate, along with volunteer Sarah (right) who sourced the chocolate and fellow-volunteer Kathy Hawkins.