Drop down to Byford Free Food market on a Thursday and you will find 12-year-old Marshall busy with other volunteers packing food for Perth’s vulnerable families.
Marshall’s mum Sandra approached the Community Capacity Building (CCB) Team at APM about finding a volunteer opportunity for her son.
“He has always had a need to help others. He would pull out weeds or mow lawns for people who couldn’t afford to pay someone,” Sandra said.
She fully supported Marshall’s desire to help others because “giving back” is such an important life skill.
“These are important morals and ethics for him to learn and live by as well as helping him to understand his place in the community,” she said.
Marshall is an NDIS participant with support from the scheme providing him with skills and therapies to assist in his personal development.
Sandra hoped Marshall’s volunteering would lead to him getting a paid casual position in the future.
“He really wanted to help people but couldn’t find a place to volunteer regularly. Sandra asked if we could reach out to the free food market and see if Marshall could attend and assist before school once a week," CCB team member Anthony Pyle said.
Anthony got in touch with Byford Baptist Church community pastor Don Warner who agreed to add Marshall to team of volunteers at the Byford Baptist Church Free Food Market.
The market is reliant on volunteers to help stock boxes with fresh food for financially struggling families. The boxes contain a healthy mix of donated food including fruit, vegetables, bakery items, dairy products and meat.
“Don has established a role for him every week and this has allowed Marshall to thrive and be valued within his community while doing what he loves,” Anthony said.
Don said Marshall was always willing to help where needed and happy to follow instructions.
“It is so nice to see a young fella get up in the morning and help out other people. Marshall does it so well,” he added.
Marshall said he loves helping people at the market and volunteering would always be part of his life.
“I want to keep helping others who need help,” he said.
As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.