Almost everyday Paula Lange would drive by and wonder at the long line of people waiting for breakfast outside City Mission’s Frederick Street store.
With a few spare hours up her sleeve each week, Mrs Lange decided to contact the centre and offer her services.
Thinking she would be handed a scoop and sent to the soup kitchen, Mrs Lange wanted to give something back to the community.
About seven months since the decision to volunteer with City Mission, she is known as a versatile and handy volunteer.
With a background in administration after years of owning a family business, Mrs Lange was quickly put to work on the reception desk.
She schedules appointments and when asked, builds food parcels for people in need.
Despite the “really sad stories”, she loves her work.
”Some people come in here and just have no idea what else to do or how to get through the day or how to feed their kids,” Mrs Lange said.
“That feeling of being able to assist someone to make things a little bit easier is just fantastic.”
To begin, she volunteered about two days each week at City Mission.
But having “loved it so much”, she is studying in community services.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help people and I thought it would be helping cook for people in a soup kitchen, but it’s turned out I love it so much more,” she said.
Her experience at City Mission has changed Mrs Lange’s view of the world.
“My kids get dressed in the morning in whatever they want, and we cook whatever we want, and that’s a pretty simple thing we’ve taken for granted,” she said.
“There are people in here coming into winter and they have no idea how they’re going to keep their kids warm.
“Things like that would have never occurred to me before.”
A “more tolerant” person now, Mrs Lange urged people not to be quick to judge people.
“It is very easy to stereotype and look at people walking down the street and have a perception of who they might be,” she said.