Nurse turned HELP Volunteer

Topics: British Columbia and Yukon, Okanagan, Community Health, Our Impact on the Ground, Philanthropy News, Volunteer, Volunteer
June 25, 2020

Wendy Frese has been volunteering for over 11 years at the Red Cross HELP Depot in Salmon Arm. HELP stands for Health Equipment Loan Program and lends equipment to people recovering from illness or surgery to safely transition from hospital to home. Wendy was interested in the volunteer role because of her background in healthcare. She felt that—given her experience--she’d be a good fit for the position and the Red Cross. In that time, she has gained enough experience that she has moved into the role as co-Team Lead for the Depot.
“I was at a stage where I had more available time,” says Wendy, “and have always believed in giving back to the community when and if you can. I find most people volunteer because they believe in giving back, enjoy the socializing, and are rewarded in feeling they are helping others.” 
Wendy trained as a nurse in Australia and met her future husband while on a working holiday in Canada.  After marrying, she worked part-time while raising her two children. Wendy’s daughter Katie volunteered in the HELP Depot with her one summer, which was a wonderful experience for both of them, and Katie is now in her third year of medical school.   
Volunteering at the HELP depot for more than a decade has brought countless memories of thankful clients; however, for Wendy the best memory came soon after she started volunteering. Wendy was able to make a few changes within the Depot, after she noticed that some of the volunteers weren’t using the computer. She implemented small but impactful processes, helping the HELP depot to run more efficiently and bringing in computer training for the other volunteers.  The Red Cross is always open to providing more training to volunteers and hearing their ideas for operational efficiencies.
“The volunteers were grateful for this, because it made their day-to-day work so much easier. Then, one of my jobs became training volunteers on the computer and I have such great memories of how proud they were of being able to use the database.”
For those interested in volunteering, Wendy would highly recommend it—especially the HELP program. “The Red Cross is a great place as it is a well recognized organization with great opportunities. The HELP program is particularly rewarding as the majority of clients using equipment are so very appreciative of the service.  I have also met some of the most incredible people who volunteer in the Depot.”
To learn more about volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross please visit or email