Farewell to outreach volunteer and unsung hero Sandy Robb

Sandy Robb - a former guest who turned into one of our most willing outreach volunteers!

Sandy Robb was a survivor.

Most people would have crumpled helplessly under the weight of the obstacles she faced. She was an unwed teenage mother, an alcoholic, a precariously employed cook, homeless more than once, beset by chronic illnesses, in and out of the hospital.

Yet, by the time she died in her sleep recently, she had fought to become a well-housed and sober senior citizen, offering no-nonsense advice as a peer support worker at a downtown medical clinic that helps addicts to recover. She had become well-known to politicians and the media as an effective advocate for the poor and the homeless in our city.

She was also a longtime, valued volunteer with the Monday Morning Outreach program at Christ Church Cathedral where she baked delicious cookies and knew most of the people in need who attended.

Sandy, at the City of Fredericton Unsung Hero awards ceremony in 2018. Pictured: Cathedral Outreach Committee Chair Penny Ericson, Fredericton South MLA David Coon, and Sandy Robb.

Outreach Committee chair Penny Ericson was a dear friend. “I've lost my buddy,” Penny said sadly. “We learned so much from Sandy. She had a big heart, and she was always ready to speak up for what was needed by the less fortunate in our city.”

It's one of the reasons Sandy won an Unsung Hero award from the City of Fredericton in 2018, being acknowledged for helping to shape this community for the better.

“Sandy was a force to be reckoned with - such a kind and generous person in her own way,” recalled retired Parish Nurse Kathleen Snow who worked closely with her at the outreach drop-ins. “A true Christian in many ways.”

Rev. Kelly Burke from New Maryland United Church, who has helped Cathedral volunteers with outreach activities for 15 years, agreed.

Sandy, helping to pack goodie bags for a COVID-safe Monday Outreach in 2020.

“So much life and goodness flowed from that woman,” she said. “She was a wise and challenging teacher for us all. Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“Sandy was the best kind of woman, and it was a pleasure to get to know her at outreach,” added volunteer Susan Colpitts, echoing comments from other volunteers. “She will be missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to share space with her.”

Heather S., a visitor to Monday Morning Outreach for many years, called Sandy “a wonderful woman” who helped her to get free furniture when she finally found housing. “She was always reaching out to somebody, so it's heart-breaking to think that she's gone.”

For the May 29th voucher day, Sandy sent a loaf of sandwiches and a newcomer who needed a pair of shoes. By the time the woman happily laced up a gently used pair of sneakers, eager to thank Sandy, our spunky and extraordinary friend had slipped out of this world.

Condolences are offered to Sandy's family, friends and to all who will miss her. Her legacy of kindness, common sense and advocacy will live on.

- by Ann Deveau

Click here to read Sandy's obituary. There will be a celebration of Sandy's life in Doaktown, Saint John and Fredericton at a later date.

Two articles about Sandy have appeared on the Cathedral website in the past:

Sandy Robb – A Fredericton Unsung Hero (2018)

Portrait of a (formerly) homeless woman – Sandy Robb (2017)

In 2017, Sandy participated in the short documentary film ‘The Rest Will Follow’, a collaboration of DocTalks, the Community Action Group on Homelessness and Housing First.


3 thoughts on “Farewell to outreach volunteer and unsung hero Sandy Robb

  1. This is a wonderful film. Sandy was a neighbor and a childhood friend. She had a hard life and struggled through but came out on top. She was always willing to help others.Sandy will get her Heavenly rewards.

  2. I am so very sad to hear of Sandy’s passing. I will miss our chats and our “Hi Sandi!”, “Hi Sandy!”
    Sandy’s passion for helping others was inspiring..and her baking!
    RIP dearest name-sake!

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