Op shops closed but hearts open
May 7th, 2020
By Julie Bruce
The three parish op shops of Moe-Newborough have closed completely for the foreseeable future.
This has been a severe blow to not only our community, but also the many willing workers involved. Gone is the opportunity for a friendly chat and exchange of news. There is a sadness when we pass by their closed doors. However, our church community continues to support our neighbourhoods through emails, letter drops and cards, and provision of food and shopping services.
There are three op shops across the parish: Angel’s Treasures in Moe, the Magdalene Centre in Newborough and Yallourn North op shop. All were very well patronised and provided a quality service to their communities.
The Magdalene Centre in particular had widened its focus towards outreach because particular welfare needs of the community. In the changing room, a section is dedicated to pamphlets outlining local support agencies in the community. A small bookshelf contains scriptural material and other helpful literature, freely available. Sanitary items and toiletries are available as well. People can take what they need in the privacy of this area.
Donated toiletries are collected and placed in attractive bags as part of the Share the Dignity Christmas Drive gifting of essentials to vulnerable women in the community. Toys are donated to the annual Toy Run in the Latrobe Valley. School uniforms and school shoes donated to the shop are passed on to the appropriate schools for their welfare departments to distribute to students in need. Excess books are donated to school libraries and to the local CFA for their annual book sale. Suitable backpacks are delivered to Fulham Correctional Centre in Sale so that, on release, people have a discreet alternative to the issued plastic bag in which to carry their belongings.
The op shop also welcomes people who are part of the Work for the Dole scheme to become part of the volunteer team. This has become a mentoring and training opportunity, and there are some lovely stories of these volunteers developing confidence, self-respect and connection with each other and the community as they sort, display and sell the donated items.
In these and many other ways, the op shops connected to our churches can be leaven in the community, sharing and caring as we do. Any other creative ideas for service would be gratefully received, because these shops are a window of opportunity to extend our role of service.
We look forward to when we can re-open and add to the life of the wider community once more.
Read more articles by visiting the May issue of The Gippsland Anglican.