Piradeepan says he’s grown as an individual and team member at the VGH Thrift Store.

“Our volunteers are awesome”

It’s National Volunteer Week and we’re celebrating our VGH Thrift Store volunteers. Thanks to their contributions, the store funded more than $68,000 worth of equipment, clothing and comfort needs for VCH-Vancouver patients, clients and residents in 2017.

“I still find it rewarding to come to work,” says James Ferrier, who’s also celebrating his fifth anniversary as the VGH Thrift Store manager this April. “Not just because I’m running what is essentially a small business, but because I also enjoy the camaraderie I share with so many of our volunteers, and my close friendship with Angela Kwan, our volunteer coordinator.”

“Our volunteers are awesome,” adds Angela. “Each has a different personality that contributes positively to the store, and they all play a very vital part in helping the store to raise funds for VCH-Vancouver patients, client and residents. We’re just so very grateful for their energy and commitment.”

The store’s 70 volunteers come from all walks of life, share a passion for potlucks and are the backbone of the one and only thrift store benefitting the VCH-Vancouver Community of Care.

We asked one volunteer about his experience. Here’s what he said:

Meet volunteer Piradeepan

What do you do at the VGH Thrift Store?

Piradeepan: I volunteer once a week, usually helping with pricing, sorting, and cleaning. I also fill in for cashier when needed, and anything else that needs to be done.

Why volunteer for the VGH Thrift Store?

Piradeepan: At first, I wanted to have some volunteer experience within Vancouver Coastal Health to open the door to employment opportunities. However, I’ve continued volunteering at the VGH Thrift Store because of the people. It’s a pleasure volunteering every week because of the community environment James and Angela have created. I have a passion for spending time volunteering and giving back to the community. This opportunity has given me the chance to experience the volunteering culture, all while helping to raise money for various hospital equipment and needs.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the VGH Thrift Store?

Piradeepan: The thing I enjoy most is interacting with the various types of people I meet at the store. First off, volunteering for James and Angela has been amazing. They treat their volunteers with the utmost respect, and they’ve allowed me to grow individually, but also through a team environment. Also, the Monday and Tuesday volunteer groups have made volunteering an enjoyable experience, sharing laughter, food and very thoughtful advice (whether I need it or not!). It has become like a family environment, which is always nice to have. Most importantly, though, are the customers and donors I interact with at the store. I get to meet new people every time I come to the store, whether they are regular customers or new customers or donors. Talking and listen to others, as well as sharing our experiences, gives me a new perspective and allows me to think outside my own perspective, which is always humbling.

What do you do when you’re not at the VGH Thrift Store?

Piradeepan: While volunteering at the store I completed my BSc in biology with a minor in kinesiology at UBC. I’m currently employed at a high performance kinesiology clinic in downtown Vancouver. In addition to volunteering at the VGH Thrift Store, I fulfill my passion for volunteering by coaching high school kids and serving as Referee-in-Chief on the Executive Board of the Richmond Cosom Floor Hockey Association.

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