The magic of volunteering

Joan’s bucket collection surprise

Joan Goodger is one of Acorns loyal volunteers. As a mum to a child who used Acorns services, she knows only too well how valuable everyone who donates their time truly is. For Joan, volunteering was a way of giving back, which is why she didn’t hesitate to support a recent bucket collection at Sainsbury’s Longbridge. She only expected to collect spare change, but she ended up collecting something much more meaningful.

Joan explained: “I am a bereaved parent whose son Paul Goodger died at Acorns in Birmingham in August 1995. Next year will be 25 years since Paul died.

“As long as I live I will never ever forget the support we received from both Acorns and their volunteers. I always ‘fly the flag’ for volunteers as I feel that the most precious gift you can give is your time.

“I met some wonderful volunteers whilst helping with a bucket collection and I had an even bigger surprise!

“One customer approached me to put some money in my Acorns collection bucket and I looked at her closely and she looked at me closely and we were aghast. Elaine was one of my home volunteers during 1995 when my son Paul become terminally ill.

“Elaine came to our house and helped out with anything and everything she could to help ease our situation. We had four boys at the time, Paul being the eldest (aged 12) Mark aged 10, Adam aged 4 and Elliot aged 3.”

The pair hadn’t seen each other for 24 years and with Elaine having moved to a new house, Joan had no way of getting back in touch with her. Time had flown, but this chance encounter brought them back together.    

Joan said: “I have arranged to meet Elaine soon to catch up on the last 24 years and to show her that her selfless support and precious free time helped to keep our family together whilst going through the worst time in our lives.

“Elaine likes to sing and did not realise that Acorns has its own choir, so I am hoping that she will join the Acorns Singers and meet likeminded people.

“If I hadn’t been in Sainsburys helping with the bucket collection I would never have met back up with Elaine after all those years. Thank you again Acorns for bringing us back together but most of all a massive thank you to all the volunteers who give up their own precious time for others.”

We are so glad to hear that Joan and Elaine were able to reconnect and amazed that it happened through volunteering with Acorns. Volunteering brings together people from all walks of life and Joan’s story shows just how valuable and life changing support from a volunteer can be, as well as showing you never know what might happen at a bucket collection.