THIRTY years ago Rae McDonald answered an advertisement seeking volunteers for Lifeline’s Albury opportunity shop.
Today the Thurgoona grandmother is the charity’s longest-serving volunteer in Australia and can’t see herself stopping any time soon.
“You don’t do it for the recognition,” she said.
“It’s good for your self-esteem and it helps the community.”
Mrs McDonald, 76, said the agency’s aim was what kept her going.
“My nephew committed suicide so Lifeline is important to me,” she said.
Mrs McDonald said her fondest memory was meeting then governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce on behalf of Lifeline last October.
In her 30 years of memories the good ones come with the bad, such as when the old op shop in Olive Street burnt down in 1989.
Mrs McDonald said she had made lifelong friends through volunteering and still had lunch once a month with those she met 30 years ago.
“I don’t think people realise what you get out of volunteering,” she said.
Mrs McDonald works at the Wilson Street store on Tuesdays and Friday and said no day was the same.
“I spend my Tuesdays sorting and on Fridays I run the shop,” she said.
“It’s never boring — the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is it takes all sorts of people to make a world.”