Rainbows Shop has for the last 35 years, had the fortune of having Maureen Cass as a valuable volunteer with them, her time there totaling 3,680 hours.
In chatting with Maureen about working with Rainbows, her enthusiasm and pleasure of being a volunteer with them is evident in her voice and what she talks about.
Volunteering has been in Maureen’s blood for many years, starting off at Peterborough High School where she worked in their canteen for 3 years, and then at Gilles Plains High School for 7 years, prior to becoming a volunteer in 1983 at the then Adelaide Children’s Hospital.
Maureen’s keenness to be a volunteer came about from personally experiencing the care Adelaide Children’s Hospital provided. Firstly, as a child in June 1954 when she was admitted to the hospital for a sore and very swollen knee following a fall at school. She developed thrombosis (a blood clot) which required a 5 week hospital stay. Maureen particularly remembers one time there when she did not want breakfast and felt pretty bad and teary. The Ward Sister could see how upset she was so left the ward “only to return a few minutes later with a beautifully set breakfast tray. It contained nothing special to eat but the cereal was in a fancy glass dish set on a pretty tray cloth with a fresh flower. Maureen said “needless to say, I then enjoyed eating my breakfast!”
Many years later in 1978, her son Peter was hit by a car when riding home from school and spent 10 days in the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Whilst Peter’s injuries were not severe and initially appeared to only require a couple of stitches in his head, he was in a bad way for several days with suspected meningitis and the possibility of brain damage. The care he received from the nurses and consideration by them of Maureen’s concern about her son’s injury made a lasting impression on her.
These experiences encouraged Maureen to become a weekly volunteer at Rainbows in 1993, although at that time it did not have a name and was in a different place to where it is now, just inside the main entrance to the hospital.
In applying to be a volunteer, Maureen was given a form to fill out and in her words she “had no skills” she could write down. As she said, when talking with her, she was a housewife with children like many others who also wished to become a volunteer in various ways.
Maureen was very nervous starting her first day in Rainbows, but that quickly dissipated when she was greeted with “come on in, we are waiting for you’’. She said that greeting made her feel welcome from the start and by the end of the first week she felt very much part of the Rainbows group of volunteers.
Initially volunteering 2 days a week, Maureen’s time is now Friday morning from 8:30 am to 12.30 pm. Like many other Friends volunteers at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, she leaves home early in the morning at 7 am to walk to her bus stop and then catches 2 buses to get to the hospital by 8:30 am.
Food served at Rainbows is seasonal and “as appetising as it can be”, with hot food served in winter. Chicken sandwiches are Maureen’s forte. Indeed, Maureen commented that often when she takes out a plate full of chicken sandwiches she has just made, by the time she gets back to the kitchen they are all gone and she is asked to make some. Her comment has been “hey, I’ve just made some”!
Rainbows is a drawcard for parents and relatives of a sick child, or friends coming to see a new baby, as well as those wanting something tasty to eat.
Situated in the Kermode Street foyer, Rainbows sells a variety of food, drinks and snack foods, as well as flowers, gifts magazines and toys. It is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 3 pm, and weekends and some public holidays from 9:30 am to 3 pm.
When asked what she enjoyed the most about volunteering at Rainbows, Maureen said it is a lot of “fun and nonsense” especially in the footy season. Everyone is glad to see each other and assist those who come into Rainbows.
One of Maureen’s favourite memories of volunteering with Rainbows was when she turned 70. When she arrived at work there was cake, candles, flowers and presents. She was thrilled and said that she “really felt part’ of the Rainbows group following this.
For someone thinking about volunteering, but not quite sure whether they should, Maureen’s advice is “just do it, give it a go and keep going” even if you are a bit unsure. She made the comment that “if you were paid to do it you would not get as much pleasure” as doing it because you wanted to.
So if you are in the vicinity of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital on a Friday morning and feel like a cuppa or something to eat, do drop into Rainbows . Maureen will be there to greet you with a cheery smile and a few words to make you laugh! And there are some delightful things on show to tempt you, with money from sales going towards assisting with the purchase of important medical equipment for those who require the care and services which the Women’s and Children’s Hospital provides.
Thank you Maureen for your dedicated support to the Friends shops helping to raise over 10 million dollars for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
If you would like to volunteer in one of the two volunteer shops located at the hospital please contact the Friends office on 81618445 or 8161 6439. You will be glad you did.