Every Monday, he stops by Oderings Garden Centres to pick up plants, delivers them to Corrections NZ Rolleston Men's Prison, and collects fresh veges. This is a great way for the men to give back to the community.
"Often men will leave the Prison and come to the City Mission to get a food parcel. They will joke saying that they probably planted the veges they are now receiving" - Mary Wood (Food Bank Coordinator).
On his run, Maurice stops by Couplands Bakeries in Hornby, who provide the Mission with 50 loaves of fresh bread every day! Maurice will also swing by multiple New World supermarkets to empty the collection bins as well as calling in to Bells Gourmet Foods and Avenue Cool Stores, who provide salads and other food goods.
We thank you for your support and hard work over the years, Maurice. We wish you all the best for the future!
Maurice Marks will step down from his post two days before his 84th birthday after volunteering at the Christchurch City Mission for 18 years.
At a time most people are ready to retire, Maurice Marks embarked on a new mission.
The Christchurch City Mission volunteer will celebrate his 84th birthday on Friday, two days after his 18 years with the charity draw to a close.
‘‘I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like doing nothing ... I just can’t stop. I’ve got to have something to do or I get bored to tears,‘‘ he said.
A lot of volunteer time he spent driving for the charity, picking up goods for the food bank and dropping vegetable plants at Christchurch Men’s Prison to be grown and eventually returned.
A recent prostate cancer diagnosis meant the work tired Marks faster. It was time to step back, but the diagnosis would not shake his outlook.
‘‘Looking back on my life, I can’t find anything I’ve done that I’ve regretted doing ... [The cancer’s] just one of those silly little things you’ve got to get around. You can’t dwell on it.’’
Marks said it ‘‘blows you away’’ how people put others’ needs before their own during times of crisis, including those the City Mission helped.
‘‘It’s opened my eyes. Through the earthquake there we had a wow of a time ... they were stressful times, but we tried to make everybody happy.’’
Marks is part of a tradition of long-term volunteers at the Christchurch City Mission.
Others include Pat at the Hereford St shop, who has been involved nearly 50 years.
Marks wanted to encourage a new generation to give back to society.
‘‘I think a lot of the attitude and keeping your mind active, keeping busy, that’s the secret ... You can sit on your backside and play on computers, but you’re not getting any exercise.
‘‘You don’t have to be paid for [volunteering], do it for nothing. It’s the joy of doing these things.’’
Despite retiring for the second time, he would still help when needed at the City Mission, he said. ‘‘They can rely on me.’’ Spokespeople for Oderings,
''Through the earthquake there we had a wow of a time ... they were stressful times, but we tried to make everybody happy." Maurice Marks
Couplands and Christchurch Men’s Prison – places Marks regularly visited as a volunteer – said he would be missed.