2020 Volunteer Recognition Event Nominee: Donna Clapham - Arohanui Hospice

2020 Volunteer Recognition Event Nominee: Donna Clapham

Lesley’s story: “Everything was special.”
September 2, 2020

2020 Volunteer Recognition Event Nominee: Donna Clapham

Arohanui Hospice Shops volunteer, Donna Clapham.

Arohanui Hospice Shops volunteer, Donna Clapham.

Arohanui Hospice Shops’ volunteer, Donna Clapham, was recently honoured in November at the Volunteer Resource Centre Manawatu’s 6th annual Volunteer Recognition Event. For the past five years, Donna’s made a significant impact on our community, bringing joy to peoples’ lives with her recycling and upcycling of donated items that are sold at Arohanui Hospice – Lombard Street. Furthermore, sales from her contributions – from jewellery to cake stands; candles to terrariums –  help make our services free for those in the region. Here, Donna shares her journey with Arohanui Hospice –  a story of love received, love returned.

“When my sister in Canada taught me about jewellery-making I discovered I really enjoyed it. I started volunteering at Arohanui Hospice’s Lombard Street Shop about five years ago – fixing jewellery that came in missing a link, or a latch. It feels good to contribute to our community. I spend as many hours a week as I can making things for the shop – recently that’s been about 3 hours a day.

I have a hobby that I love and as I get access to amazing items that are donated to the Lombard Street Shop that may be in need of fixing –  if someone wasn’t going to fix it, it wouldn’t be worth anything. I love finding ways to fix and upcycle – I’m able to make old things new again.

Donna is creative in upcycling items for Arohanui Hospice Shops.

I go with the flow with what’s available.  Right now, I’m making a lot of plants, and terrariums. People kindly donate plants, cuttings, succulents and herbs and seedlings. I create vessels – using everything from mismatched crockery to chipped vases to which I adhere things to; I love to experiment. Currently, I’m plating a bunch of baskets for plantings. Did you know you can even put towels into a concrete mixture and create a planter?

A lot of my ideas come from Pinterest. If a plate has a crack or a chip – I don’t see something to throw away; I see something to recycle or upcycle. I will glue something onto it or drill a hole into it to hang. From plates I make cake stands. My husband helps me when he can. He’s great at banging out dents in silver, which then I use to house plants.

I don’t see this as a job, it’s such a big bonus that what I enjoy doing is able to support such a deserving cause. The end of life is a special time, and if you can make that pathway better for people while doing what you enjoy, why wouldn’t you help? I was born and raised in Feilding and other people I’ve met through Hospice have become lifelong friends; they’re always welcoming. I work at a desk just behind the counter – I’ll sit there working away with a smile at my face when listening to all of the wonderful conversations around me.

When I consider what aroha means to me, I think of kindness. Thoughtfulness. There is too much unhappiness in the world and life is short – to put a smile on someone’s face means the world to me.”