It was a chance encounter with two young volunteers at his local parish in Wavell Heights that led Tim Jones to Rosies. “The volunteers spoke at Mass and invited those who were interested to volunteer. I had a good life and was looking to support people who were less fortunate, so I joined them one Friday night in the CBD,” Mr Jones said.
“There were about 80 people there that first night, it was raining but they were all waiting for us to arrive and have a chat. I’ll never forget that first outreach; I knew I’d found the right place to volunteer” he said.
Mr Jones celebrated 20 years with the organisation earlier this month and joins a handful of fellow volunteers who have been extending the hand of friendship across Queensland for more than two decades.
Looking back over his long history with the organisation, Mr Jones values the friendships and connections he’s made, “I enjoy talking with our patrons and walking alongside them as a companion on their own personal journey offering hope when I can.”
Each of the patrons who attend outreach has a story, a story which often includes struggle or hardship, but is accompanied by companionship and support from Rosies. Mr Jones remembers one such patron who shared struggles with him, “One of our patrons has been visiting our Aspley BBQ since its inception – we’ve supported him as he struggled with alcoholism. I was putting up a poster in the park and he pulled me aside for a chat, he shared that he had decided to try and give up the drink, as he was sick of living in the (caravan) park.”
“In the months and years that followed (the conversation) there were victories and relapses but always hope,” Mr Jones said. That patron has been sober now for quite some time and has moved on from the caravan park but still comes back for the BBQ each month.
“He still continues to visit us for the BBQ, we are his community. He’s doing really well and has recently purchased a car from the money he saved with his new lifestyle,” Mr Jones said.
The work that Rosies does continues to impact people long after they have left the van and the streets.
Steady companionship and offering encouragement through basic human connection and a cuppa is the reason that so many volunteers like Mr Jones choose to stay with Rosies year after year.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have kindhearted people like Tim as volunteers of Rosies. He and the others like him help to instill confidence, hope, and self-worth for our patrons who attend outreach,” Rosies CEO Jayne Shallcross said.
“On behalf of our patrons, volunteers, and community I want to thank Tim for his 20 years of service and hope that he will continue to share friendship for many more years to come” Ms Shallcross said.