They’re the ones you might try to avoid in the supermarket foyer.

The raffle sellers who sit for hours hoping to make a few dollars for cash-strapped community organisations.

One of them is Allan Willis-Croft. He’s part of a team organised by Volunteer Whanganui which – week in, week out – sells raffle tickets for various groups.

Collectively they’ve raised about thousands for Whanganui.

“Usually at Trafalgar Square. Indoors, “Willis-Croft says.

“You’re not allowed to ask people to buy tickets. I just sit there. If people look at you say good morning to them. I don’t know, it just happens. And of course, you get the people who totally don’t want to see you.”

He’s come to learn about about human behaviour in his volunteer role. “Seeing all the people. Sitting there, I love people watching. Some of the sights you see are just…(laughs).”

Whanganui has the highest number of registered volunteers per capita. There 686 people like Allan Willis-Croft helping 101 community organisations and many of them gathered at the Duncan Pavilion this week to mark International Volunteer Day.

Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey says there is a strong culture of volunteering in Whanganui.

“It’s a very strong community, Whanganui, and the was apparent with the floods with how many people came out and did what they did. It’s got incredible community spirit.

“The other thing is sadly because there’s not a lot of jobs so people see volunteering as a way of keeping themselves busy.”

A don’t underestimate the vale in that. Rickey says the raffle selling team alone raised $40,000 for ten different organisations.

It’s something Willis-Croft is proud to be part of.

“Because they don’t get Government funding. Everything they get, they’ve got to raise themselves. So if I can raise $100, good.”

And there are other perks, too.

Feature photo: Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey and Allan Willis-Croft.