A woman who has been ‘‘the face’’ of the Gore Salvation Army Corps for the past 23 years is about to call it a day.
This will be the last Christmas corps community support worker Kaye Byron will contribute to the assembly of food parcels for the group, as she will retire in January.
Ms Byron said she had served in a variety of roles since she began working in the corps’ family store in 1999.
She was a member of the congregation when she started volunteering at the store, pricing the clothing.
Not long after, she started in a volunteer receptionist role for a couple of years.
Her next positions as the business administrator and later the community ministries support worker were paid. She had also worked as a cleaner and a cook for the corps.
In 2011 she took responsibility for the food bank.
“I also did budgeting advice.
‘‘I’ve had a finger in so many pies,’’ Ms Byron said.
She would not like to estimate how many food parcels she had prepared during her service.
The work had been very rewarding, she said.
‘‘I’ve loved working with the community and people, helping where I can.
‘‘We have a very supportive community.’’
The variety of the work also appealed to her.
‘‘Every day is different.
‘‘It depends on the situations that come through the door.’’
While she had met many people throughout the years she did not always remember names.
‘‘I know a lot of faces but not many names.’’
Sometimes all that someone needed was a sympathetic ear and to be pointed in the right direction, Ms Byron said.
‘‘I’ve sort of made it a drop-in centre so people are happy just to drop in, have a coffee and have a talk.’’
There had been many highlights but one was being able to ‘‘help somebody and [help them] get back on their feet’’.
The last two years she had faced health challenges which was why she was retiring six years before she was due to.
‘‘I don’t know what I am going to do in the future.
‘‘It’s a big step out in faith but I’m not worried about it.’’
She was looking forward to spending more time with her family.
Corps leader major Glenys Fairhurst said Ms Byron would be ‘‘greatly missed’’.
‘‘Kaye Byron has been the face of the Salvation Army here in Gore for 23 years in a variety of roles.
‘‘She’s been a woman of many, many tasks and has greeted and helped and assisted hundreds and hundreds of people over those years and accepted them just the way they are.’’
Her strengths were ‘‘multitasking and graciously coping with interruptions’’.