When Ellie Hay decided to volunteer at her local Red Cross Shop, it didn’t come as much of a surprise to her family.

“I grew up with Red Cross. If it wasn’t for Red Cross, I wouldn’t exist!” Ellie says.

It may sound like an exaggeration, but, in Ellie’s case, it’s not far off the mark.

In 1995, Ellie’s mother Monia was working as a logistician with the French Red Cross in Angola. It was here she met her future husband Steven, who was stationed in the country with New Zealand Red Cross.

“It was love at first sight,” Monia remembers. “And, after twenty two years, we are still together.”

The couple continued to work for Red Cross in Geneva. A few years later, Ellie was born and the family settled in New Zealand.

These days, the family is still heavily involved with Red Cross. Monia is still working as a volunteer coordinator for Red Cross’ refugee resettlement programme in Wellington, while Ellie has started volunteering at the Petone Red Cross Shop.

Volunteering in a Red Cross Shop is not only a way to carry on the family tradition, it’s also a good fit for fashion-lover Ellie.

“I love clothes and I love what Red Cross stands for it. It’s not just a fun retail environment, it’s also going to something bigger,” she says.

It’s easy to make a difference at a Red Cross Shop. Every time you shop at or donate your quality goods to our shops, you’re supporting Red Cross’ work in communities across New Zealand and around the world.

Find your nearest Red Cross Shop or learn more about becoming a retail volunteer.