Joan has volunteering ingrained in her soul. She started at the Compassion Soup Kitchen 30 years ago and hasn’t stopped. “I started collecting the bread down on Chaffers Street on Saturday mornings, and then I did street collection, all that kind of volunteer stuff.”

Now in her 90s, she comes with her daughter twice a week to help at the Compassion Soup Kitchen with whatever is needed. “I just enjoy being allowed to be part of this. To me it is an exceptional place, it is unique and very special, and so are the people who work here, they are beautiful.”

She has been interested in helping since she was a child living on a farm with her family and saw her mother’s kindness. Her mother would feed those who were struggling during the depression. Eventually, Joan became interested in the work of the Sisters of Compassion and the life of their founder Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert. “I was aware of the goodness of the sisters, but also intrigued with Suzanne Aubert’s story, and I still am. Such a little woman, from so far away, who gave so much energy and hope.”

After reading and learning about the life of Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert, Joan felt she was doing too little and decided to volunteer at the Compassion Soup Kitchen. Since then, 30 years have passed, filled with countless stories and encounters with numerous people, yet the sentiment regarding the value of this place remains unchanged.

“The Compassion Soup Kitchen is doing an amazing job, it’s a great place, very well run, and wonderful to be attached to.”
After all her years as a volunteer, Joan assures that, “I will keep coming as long as I can, I have my driving licence, and I just want to keep coming.”