Two of the best right here in Mans­field

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

SHARKS heads, vi­bra­tors, shelled prawns and pros­thetic limbs – these are all things that have been handed in to op shops across the state.

It’s Na­tional Op Shop Week later this month, and for a small com­mu­nity Mans­field is lucky to boast not one but two shin­ing ex­am­ples of what can be achieved with ded­i­cated vol­un­teers.

The Mans­field St Vin­cent’s Op Shop has suc­cess­fully run a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion for a num­ber of years, of­fer­ing house­hold items along­side an ex­ten­sive range of cloth­ing.

How­ever, co­or­di­na­tor Lyn Stevens said it was not the mer­chan­dise but the ca­ma­raderie that made St Vin­nies a great place to work.

“It’s great, we have a bit of fun,” she said.

“It also gives some­thing back to the com­mu­nity.”

Ms Stevens said op shops were an im­por­tant part of a small com­mu­nity, help­ing fam­i­lies that might oth­er­wise have been des­ti­tute.

“We can help give peo­ple the things they mightn’t be able to af­ford oth­er­wise,” she said.

Although the bulk of their do­na­tions are cloth­ing and house­hold items, Ms Stevens said some in­ter­est­ing pieces had crossed their floors.

“I can’t tell you some of the things we have had do­nated – you couldn’t put it in the pa­per,” she laughed, prov­ing the fun at­mos­phere of her work­place.

Across the road at the Unit­ing Church Op Shop and it’s a sim­i­lar story.

Bev Armstrong has been volunteeri­ng since the store first opened, and gladly do­nates her time one day a week.

“I like do­ing it – I like to get out of the house and meet peo­ple,” Bev said.

Deal­ing mostly in cloth­ing and smaller items, Bev said she had seen the fash­ions come and go, but had no­ticed now how young some of her clien­tele were.

“It’s re­ally fash­ion­able now, to come into an op shop and find some­thing to wear.”

How­ever, as part of Na­tional Op Shop Week peo­ple are be­ing im­plored that they are a re­tail store, not a rub­bish de­pot.

A ti­ta­nium pros­thetic limb, a full box of used den­tures, a bag of hu­man ashes, bald car tyres, empty paint tins and even a dead shark have all been do­nated to Aus­tralian char­ity op shops in re­cent years.

In 2012 more than two bil­lion do­nated items were sorted at Aus­tralian char­ity op shops - while strange but use­ful items are able to be sold to raise funds, an in­creas­ing pro­por­tion of do­na­tions are rub­bish.

The founder of Na­tional Op Shop Week, Jon Dee, says that the op shop char­i­ties are spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars a year to dis­pose of un­sellable items.

“The Salvos alone spend up to $6 mil­lion a year on dis­posal costs and land­fill fees - that money could be go­ing to­wards wel­fare pro­grams that help peo­ple back k into the work­force, or as­sist t peo­ple af­ter nat­u­ral dis­as­ters,” Mr Dee said.

“The ma­jor­ity of do­na­tions are fan­tas­tic, and help to fund vi­tal com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“But if you give them some­thing that’s un­sellable, then the char­ity op shop has to pay to dis­pose of that item.”

The rule of thumb is to not t do­nate any­thing you wouldn’t t be happy to give to a friend.

Bro­ken ap­pli­ances and crock­ery, sin­gle shoes, socks or gloves and stained or torn cloth­ing should not be do­nated.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.