A hairdresser who has spent the past 12 weeks at the Salvation Army’s food bank, helping pack thousands of bags for local families, each with a personal touch, has been named a ‘lockdown hero’ finalist.
The TMF Lockdown Hero Awards were launched by TMF Group in partnership with Bailiwick Express to say thank you to the heroes of the health crisis and celebrate the many local acts of kindness that have kept the island going at a difficult time.
Nominations have flooded in since the awards were launched, and now a panel has whittled all the stories of “ordinary people during extraordinary things” down to a shortlist of just three entries.
Express will be sharing their stories each day before the public gets to decide which of the three shortlisted heroes should win the top £500 cash prize.
First up is hairdresser Dominic Basilio, who, finding himself out of work when his salon had to close down, started volunteering at the Salvation Army food bank...
Pictured: Dominic has worked with other volunteers to help pack thousands of bags over the last 12 weeks.
After seeing an appeal for donations, Dominic bought some items to donate and brought them to the charity in Minden Street on the first day the food bank opened.
Having just been told Le Salon Hair & Beauty would have to close the following day, Dominic enquired about volunteering – something he had actually wanted to do for a while.
“I applied for the soup kitchen before, but it turned out that my only day off was the day they were closed,” Dominic explained.
Every day the food bank has been open over the past 12 weeks, Dominic has been there, offering his time and putting his organisational skills to good use.
Working with a small team of volunteers, Dominic has helped pack the food bags as well as organising the work of other volunteers.
“I could not stay home, I would have gone insane,” Dominic said. “I am good with projects, I love a good project.”
Pictured: Dominic helped source colouring books, games, puzzles as well as sweets for local children.
Dominic was nominated by Ian Houiellebecq, the manager of the Salvation Army’s café and charity shop, who was impressed by his dedication.
“He has it down to a fine art,” Ian said. “He got to know the families and what they like and don’t like. He has had an amazing approach.”
In addition, Dominic has been sourcing treats for local children whose parents received help from the food bank, including colouring books, games, puzzles as well as sweets - some of which his clients happily donated - and added personal touches to the deliveries.
“It was my mission every week,” Dominic said. “I tried to find out the ages of the children to make it age specific. I posted twice a week to ask for sweets, chocolates and crisps and a handful of my clients would come with boxes and sweets.
“The people who received the packages have sent photos of the kids doing arts and crafts. It’s been really sweet.”
“He is incredible, we are so fortunate to have him as a volunteer,” Ian said. “He is the kind of guy you are just privileged to know. He never complains, he just gets on with it. He was a godsend to us."
Pictured: Dominic has been at the Salvation Army every day the food bank has been opened over the last 12 weeks.
Dominic was touched to hear Ian had nominated him and that he had been shortlisted, but was keen to shift the focus on the charity.
“It’s nice to get recognised, but I didn’t do it for the recognition,” he said,
“It’s not been easy, it required a lot of hours and it was harder than my normal job. But one picture from one family make it’s worth it for me.
“It’s been amazing to raise awareness for the Salvation Army who are always around helping people.”
While Dominic wil be returning to Le Salon tomorrow as restrictions ease further, he has promised he will continue to help the Salvation Army where he can if work does not get too chaotic.
Michaela Harrison-Gray, Director, Head of Trusts and Corporate at TMF Jersey, said: “All of those nominated stepped up to help others in their community during this challenging and often distressing period. There were many examples of kindness, selflessness and innovation, with ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help those in need or keep people’s spirits up."
Pictured: Michaela Harrison-Gray, Director, Head of Trusts and Corporate at TMF Jersey.
Michaela added: “TMF Group are delighted to have supported this initiative. It’s great to be able to recognise and thank those islanders that made others’ lives easier during this difficult time.”
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