Who are you and what do you do in your day-to-day job?

I'm Ryan and I am part of the IT Business Analysts team.   

Who did you help today?

The Wellington City Mission.

Why did you choose them?

Providing services to the most vulnerable and needy in our city (Wellington) - works in line with MAS's mission.

What did you do?

The Wellington City Mission has recently acquired a building on Oxford Street in Newtown. They want to convert this into housing for the homeless in the city. The building has been abandoned since 2008 and there is a lot of work to be done before this is feasible.

We met Ray from the City Mission out the front of the building in the morning. There was an empty skip out front ready to go. For our part, there was some gardening required for the outdoor areas as one part of bringing the building up to a liveable standard. 

With overgrowth near the main building entrance and a wild garden via a rear outdoor area accessed from a higher level, we had plenty on our plate. 

Interspersed between the courtyard and rear garden there was a lovely collection of weeds, vines, sod, logs, concrete, broken pots, rusty chairs, and general detritus. 

Gloves were pulled on, shovels, secateurs, and saws were equipped, then we got to work. After an initial proof of concept, we analysed and optimised the process for efficiency and began the large task of chopping and filling up large hessian sacks of garden rubbish. Trips up and down the 42 stairs were underway. Then soon the skip began to fill up  

While it was not raining during the morning the ground was still waterlogged and mud was soon everywhere throughout the building, and our clothing. As the development continued, we also had to complete some debugging along the way. After an initial heroic effort, there was time for a lovely lunch at the Salvation Army Café nearby, then we returned to complete the task at hand.  

Soon however the work points were being rapidly delivered and the skip was approaching full - when it began to rain. We hurriedly completed the remainder of the backlog under the new conditions. Following this, we washed the tools and the courtyard, mopped up the tiles and the stairwell, and met with Chris from City Mission. He was very complimentary of the work, with an extra off-street carpark, a clean and ready to use the courtyard, and a full skip of rubbish ready to be taken away. We then eased our aching bodies back into the vehicles for the return trip home.

What did you enjoy most?

The sense of accomplishment at the end.

What did you learn from the experience?

Extreme gardening is tough work.

How can I help?

Keeping an eye on their website for volunteering opportunities.


Tag your heroes and get in the draw to win!

Comment on this Facebook post (or on any other of our advent calendar posts) and like our Facebook page before 24 December, and be in to win a $500 prezzie card or one of five $100 prezzie cards or one of five Bum Bag Survival Kits!

We'd love to hear your stories about wonderful organisations, amazing people, and initiatives in your community. Tag them in the comments and tell us what makes them special.

This December we want to celebrate all those generous and kind-hearted people out there who contribute to the greater good, give their time and help others. Here at MAS, each staff member is given one day per year to give back to community. They pitch in for a wide variety of organisations and causes and we'll share their stories as our #masforgood advent calendar.

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