Alexandra resident Jacqui Hood is one of the community’s quiet achievers – giving of her time and energy without expecting or asking for any thanks.

Mrs Hood first moved with her husband to Alexandra 17 years ago, and answered an advertisement the following month calling for volunteers at the Salvation Army Family Store in Tarbert St.

She has volunteered there since, in addition to volunteering with Central Cinema Alexandra as a projectionist, and at the Animal Rehab Centre.

She also walks her neighbours’ dogs regularly, is the neighbourhood support person for her street, is part of a group that knits garments for Plunket and, until Covid-19 hit New Zealand, took part in the Grandparenting in Schools programme.

Mrs Hood said the couple moved to Alexandra from Oamaru, and before that lived on Waiheke Island for 10 years.

She also volunteered while in Oamaru, visiting the SPCA about three times a week to clean cages and feed the animals, in addition to fostering cats at home.

She enjoyed working in the Family Store, and screening movies at the cinema was fun because it was outside of her comfort zone, she said.

“Now that I’ve retired, it’s easy to put time back into the community.

“It’s a win-win – we didn’t know anybody when we moved here so it’s a nice way to meet people.”

Salvation Army Family Store manager Allison Bilverstone said the shop couldn’t survive without volunteers and for someone to stay as long as Mrs Hood was an achievement in itself.

“I know the customers don’t always appreciate what the volunteers do for the shop and the community,” she said.

Mrs Hood said she missed visiting schools and reading to young students to help them improve their language skills.

“Its lovely. The joy that you get from the kids is awesome.

“You get so much out of it.”

When not doing things for others, this 68-year-old keeps busy with her own hobbies – playing mahjong once a week, taking tai chi and yoga classes and walking, usually accompanied by somebody’s dog.

She said she would recommend volunteering for anyone who has the time.

“You get out what you put in and what you need at the time,” she said.