Riverina’s volunteers have stood tall in the face of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 over the past 12 months. We couldn’t be there in person to celebrate their amazing efforts this year, however we sent our thanks virtually for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Riverina Regional Awards ceremony.
A Special congratulations to 10 year old Ariba Omar who has been volunteering for more than half her life, Karen Murray who rolled her sleeves up to help bushfire evacuees, their families and pets, Junee farmer and volunteer John Foord, who’s on a crusade to stop food waste and help feed people in need and; the unceasing team members from the Pleasant Hills NSW CWA.
The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Riverina is Junee farmer and OzHarvest founder John Foord.
2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Riverina are:
Young Volunteer of the Year Ariba Omar from Wagga Wagga
Ten year old Ariba has been volunteering and fundraising for a number of local charities and community events for more than half her life. This includes Daffodil Day, Relay for Life, Red Nose Day, Pink Ribbon Day, MS Readathon and has even donated her hair to the Variety-Hair with Heart charity.
Adult Volunteer of the Year Karen Murray from Wagga Wagga
Karen is a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital and also founded the Kildare Bushfire Donation and Collection Centre to help displaced fire victims, their families and pets from Tumbarumba, Batlow and Adelong. The centre was set up at Kildare Catholic College to provide accommodation and donations to evacuees and support to RFS firefighters working on the frontline.
Senior Volunteer of the Year – John Foord from Junee
Junee farmer and volunteer John Foord founded the OzHarvest Wagga Wagga Chapter eight years ago. He now leads a group of 20 volunteers who collect more than 70,000 kgs of food each year to turn into 200,000 home cooked meals supplied to 16 local charities. He also founded the Junee Community Open Kitchen and provides hampers for vulnerable families in the region.
Volunteer Team of the Year – NSW Country Women’s Association Pleasant Hills Branch
The eight volunteer team members, including two 50-year volunteering veterans, have been raising money by cooking and catering at the Henty Field Days, street stalls and other events to help purchase lifesaving medical equipment. They also collected items for special pamper packs, donated to women in droughted affected communities.
The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.
Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year. The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.