Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Catharina Verweel, I live in Lauragh Co. Kerry with my family since 1992. I am busy both in and outside of my house. The garden and the greenhouse is important to me, the fresh fruit and veg are wonderful. To live in the countryside is very important to me, nature never gets boring. It’s a privilege to live where I do.
How do you volunteer with KLAWS (what do you do) and how long have you been volunteering for KLAWS?
I volunteer with KLAWS as a shop volunteer, which is in Kenmare . I think I’m volunteering about 10 years. Kitty, our chairperson asked me to help out. We had no shop at the time but we had tables out every Friday beside Super Valu. We were allowed to use one of the SV units to store the donations. We managed to get one of the units but after a while we had to move out and found another venue outside town. We are very lucky to have the present shop in such a good location. At one point I was chosen by the committee to become shop manager.
Why did you become a volunteer?
I was asked as I have stated earlier. It was by accident that I became a volunteer because I was busy enough and didn’t think about becoming a volunteer, but when I was asked by Kitty I said yes. I knew she was involved in animal welfare for a long time
What have you learned from volunteering? Has it changed you in any way?
I have learned from being a shop volunteer that you have to be patient, strong, have a sense of humour and to be helpful. I now know a town like Kenmare can’t be without a charity shop. It has definitely changed my view on various things e.g. the importance to be a volunteer for animal welfare.
Was there anything about volunteering you didn't expect?
Volunteering means to me to be dedicated to the job but I didn’t expect it to be so complicated at times. To keep the shop tidy and attractive is a thing that’s is not always possible. Also being sure that all hours are covered by the other volunteers. There are weeks I have to swap shifts between volunteers and sometimes we have to do an extra shift because volunteers do have also a private life.
What would you describe as a high point and low point of your time volunteering?
Volunteering gives energy to me, I see this as a high point, in particular when we are doing well in the shop, when the customers are positive about us and tell how wonderful we are doing the volunteering for KLAWS, helping animals.
The low point to me when my shift is over and I couldn’t have done more. We get many donations every day which has to be sorted and priced. I want to have it all done before the next volunteer comes in to take it over. In other words there is not always time to finish satisfied. It would be wonderful to have some more volunteers.
Any standout fosters or foster stories for you?
No I don’t have any stand out foster stories but I hear from customers who have adopted or fostered animals. I know it’s not easy to get fosterers and in the shop as such we mention we need fosterers, we refer people to our social media platforms like Facebook and the KLAWS website.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?
I know how much pleasure it gives to me to be a volunteer. I would say to someone thinking about becoming a volunteer, just give it try for a couple of hours a week, fit it into your life. To do something for others, in our case, for animal welfare, it’s an addition to your life. I have the experience and do it with passion.