Lifeline Community Care Queensland’s 5000 volunteers give 1.4 million hours per year of their time, highlighting the extraordinary giving spirit Queenslanders have for supporting those in need in their community.
For 20-year Lifeline volunteer Jo Plant, giving back to the community she has lived in for over 40 years is its own reward.
Jo moved to Inala in 1962, and began work at the Inala Lifeline Shop in 1988 after she retired from a career in special education.
Since then, Jo has witnessed Inala evolve from a suburb where “you could count the shops on one hand” to a major shopping precinct with a bustling multicultural population.
Her shop has moved six times in the years she has worked there and Jo considers the current store in the Inala Plaza to be the biggest and best yet.
While her manager’s flair for presentation is legendary, Jo prefers to work in the back of the store, sorting and preparing clothes for display.
However, she particularly enjoys sourcing special requests such as books or household items for customers, and has formed many enduring relationships this way.
In fact, it is in her personal life that Jo has found working as a volunteer for Lifeline most rewarding.
While she experienced a significant life tragedy shortly after she began with the charity, the support of staff and customers was such that Jo believes returning promptly to work was “the best thing she ever did.”
Likewise, she has very fond memories of her 70th birthday, where staff celebrated wholeheartedly with her at work and even attended her home birthday party.
The store also serves as a hive of everyday social activity, with Jo’s friends and regular customers often dropping by for a chat.