What is Orygen Assist?
Orygen Assist is a volunteer-run program that provides access to essential items for young people and their families. This includes non-perishable food, clothing and hygiene products.
Volunteers operate a drop-in shop at Orygen Parkville on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1pm-4pm and Fridays from 10am-1pm, as well as an online ordering and deliveries service available across Orygen sites for clinicians and staff, on behalf of young people and families.
In 2023 Orygen Assist:
- distributed 1,000 items of new clothing, 700 hygiene & pamper packs and seven vans' worth of non-perishable food items; and,
- fulfilled 200 individual orders across Orygen sites including Parkville, Werribee, Melton, Sunshine, Footscray, Craigieburn and Glenroy.
Orygen Assist is made possible by our generous charity partners Foodbank Victoria, Thread Together and Pinchapoo who supply these essential items.
Role: Orygen Assist on-site volunteer
How did you find out about Orygen and volunteering at Orygen Assist?
I’ve always had a keen interest in what Orygen does and its mission to support young people. One day I found myself browsing the website and saw the volunteer registration page. I liked that it was an open-ended registration and that Orygen would get in touch as opportunities arose and would find something to suit me. My first role was at the Western Bulldogs/Orygen Youth Fest in the West event and after that, I joined the Orygen Assist team on an ongoing basis.
What impact do you see Orygen Assist having on the community?
Orygen Assist provides not only the essentials like underwear, hygiene packs, menstrual packs and food staples, but also some special extras that can bring a smile to someone's face because they weren’t expecting it. We offer spa packs with nail polishes and hair masks, fun patterned socks and at Christmas we had puddings, chocolate sauce and custard.
What is your favourite part of volunteering?
I like that I can be involved in a team of volunteers who all care about what we’re doing and share the same mission. Lauren, our volunteer coordinator, is so supportive and listens to our ideas for expanding the Orygen Assist offering.
Speaking with the young people who walk in is the best part of my shift. A particular highlight was seeing a young person’s face light up when they found a pair of leather boots in their size. I saw them again a few weeks later and we discussed how much they loved the boots and how they were excited to pack them for an upcoming trip. It made me think about how Orygen’s vision is to support young people to enjoy optimum mental health as they grow into adulthood.
Learn how to volunteer at the Orygen Assist program HERE.