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Volunteer Alissa gives back


Alissa loves volunteering at Shire Salvos Miranda, in Sydney’s south.
BY LAUREN MARTIN

 

When people arrive at Shire Salvos Miranda in southern Sydney on a Thursday afternoon, one of the biggest smiles that greets them is on the face of Alissa Mendez. She’s a passionate volunteer, and the Salvos hold a special place in her heart.

 

“The Salvos have been helping me since I was 17,” Alissa says. “And I’m 33 now. So, for half of my life I’ve had Salvation Army involvement. I’ve always felt loved and supported by the Salvos. You guys just opened your arms and helped me for all those years with no judgement.”

 

When Alissa left home and was starting to set up her adult life, she discovered a nearby Salvation Army low-cost food service. She has received support when needed ever since and when she moved to the Sutherland Shire and had kids, she reached out to Shire Salvos Miranda for friendship and support.

 

“Whenever I’ve been in need, I feel like I’ve been guided to the Salvos.”

 

Alissa volunteers at the Shire Salvos Miranda ‘Soul Food’ service. It’s a meal with a difference – different speakers share their experiences of faith, hope and transformation during the dinner. Often there is live music or times of prayer. “I love the people that share their stories,” says Alissa. “I’m learning even as I’m giving back by serving. I’m learning the meaning behind life – it’s not just sitting in church on a Sunday. If I have questions about God, I can ask the people here.”

 

And she loves connecting with the community of people who visit Shire Salvos Miranda every week. “Talking to the older women and men and connecting with them on a weekly basis, just seeing how their week was, it puts a smile on my face and warms my heart.”

 

When Alissa’s youngest child needed heart surgery at an early age, she found support through her friends at the Salvos, who listened, cared, and prayed over the family. “You guys have always just opened your arms to me.”

 

Alissa has also connected with the Shire Salvos Menai playgroup, where she can take her kids and spend a few hours outside of the house having conversations with other mums with the same age kids. “It’s great!”

 


 

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