Bookworms’ passion for volunteering persists through pandemic
Husband and wife team Aubrey and Val Kilah have been volunteering with BlueCare for more than 30 years between them. The dynamic duo share their plans for this year’s BlueCare Book Sale, and what keeps them coming back for more.
How long have you been volunteering with BlueCare?
“I have been volunteering with BlueCare for roughly 12 years, but my wife Val has been doing it for 20 years,” says Aubrey. “Val started out volunteering in day care respite and now coordinates the Book Sale that I and a group of volunteers help her with. We get together all the time! It’s very rewarding and the event is such a good thing for the people in town. Everyone really looks forward to it and all the proceeds go towards supporting the most vulnerable in our community.”
What makes BlueCare special to you?
“BlueCare looked after both sets of our parents,” says Val. “Aubrey’s mum and dad were day respite clients, my dad accessed in home care, and mum went to BlueCare’s respite service for years. It was an institution for her – Mum was a very social person and loved the morning activities, lunches and afternoon games BlueCare organised for her and other people her age. She even went on holidays to the Sunshine Coast with the respite staff and volunteers.”
When is the next BlueCare Book Sale?
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had a book sale for a while because of the pandemic but that is about to change: our next five-day event at the Gatton Shire Hall on North Street is planned for October. Our quality and range of books is second to none as far as second-hand is concerned – many books are brand new and still have the plastic wrap on them. Customers pay $15 and get 15-30 books out of the bargain, so it’s an opportunity to get a good read for great value whilst giving back.”
What kind of work is involved in organising the book sale?
“We collect the books and manage the logistics involved in getting all the titles to the hall and setting up for the event. We have about 40 one-tonne vegetable bins we put the books into that contain about 25,000 books in total. It’s a big all-day job putting the tables up and getting the books set out in preparation for the event.”
How do people donate books to the sale?
“Members of the public are welcome to donate print books, CDs, DVDs and audiobooks to BlueCare’s service centre at Gatton.”
What would you say to other people who are considering volunteering with BlueCare?
“Just do it! Volunteering is a delightful opportunity to relate to and help other people in the community.”