Without fail and for the past 6 weeks, Peter White has walked from his home in Lossiemouth down to the local Baptist Church to help Lossiemouth Community Council’s Covid-19 Response. Some days, Peter makes and attaches labels for hundreds of food parcels, or organises a growing mountain of carrier bags. Today, he made up carefully portioned packets of laundry soap for over 100 parcels.
It doesn’t matter about the size of the job, or how much detail there is; for Peter, it’s more about still having an opportunity to be involved in community life. Peter is not new to volunteering and since the lockdown, has been missing his regular volunteering opportunities as a Health Walk Leader and helper at local coffee mornings at churches across Elgin. These organisations have had to take a break from regular activities. ‘I miss it a lot…I was doing heaps of it (volunteering)’, says Peter.
‘Since the Covid lockdown, it’s changed my life...I used to get out of my bed to go to Elgin...now it is harder to get up and go. I was looking for places I could help and saw the Lossiemouth Community Council’s Facebook page and messaged them. I got a phone call and they asked me what I could do to help out. I said I can easily take a dog for a walk, I can go to the chemists and deliver prescriptions’, says Peter.
Peter has yet to walk dogs, (except for his own dog Calvin) but is volunteering twice a week with the distribution of food parcels, and says he feels welcome in this new volunteering, even though they wear masks (and gloves) when doing the work. Peter says he is noticing the community itself is friendlier. “People used to walk past, that was it...now people ask how you’re doing”.
He would like to do more but knows that is hard to do just now. ‘It’s made me meet new people and it makes me feel happy. By helping, I get to know people, they get to know me and they’re not strangers anymore’.