Op shops 'the quiet heroes'

Wendy Stanley and Lisa Nicoll at the Lifeline store.
Wendy Stanley and Lisa Nicoll at the Lifeline store. Warren Lynam

EVERYONE loves an op shop bargain.

The sifting through the racks, the shuffling through the shelves and finding that elusive hidden gem are all part of the fun of secondhand shopping.

During National Op Shop Week this week, charity stores are seeking volunteers and for people to clear out their closets and help boost stocks of good-quality donations.

Last year Australian donated more than 300,000 tonnes of items to charity op shops, enough to fill 13,200 13m containers.

Lifeline Kunda Park shop supervisor Wendy Stanley said made the transition from volunteer to employee earlier this year, after starting in the sorting centre.

"We have all kinds of volunteers who are here for all different reasons," Ms Stanley said.

She always had a focus on recycling, even starting her own ethical clothing fashion label about 10 years ago.

"I started in the sorting centre and was made shop supervisor in January and I just love it," she said.

"I love that fact that we are recycling in order to assist those in need through the Lifeline telephone counselling service.

"I like the fact that this is all run by volunteers.

"We have some wonderful volunteers here from a 21-year-old girl who is just amazing to some volunteers who are just pre-retirement age around 55, who unfortunately are no longer employable, but for us they have a lot to offer and they have a very good work ethic.

"We have 42 volunteers but I'd love to boost that to about 60 to 80 to make everyone's job a little lighter."

Many charity community programs are funded by the income derived from op shops and their clothing collection bins.

To make it easier to donate, more than 2000 Australian charity op shops have been listed on DoSomething!'s website.

Charity op shops listed at the site include Vinnies, the Salvos, Red Cross, Lifeline, The Smith Family, the RSPCA, Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Animal Welfare League, the Asthma Foundation, Anglicare, MS Australia, Uniting Care and Mission Australia's Big Heart Op Shops.

Topics:  bargain national op shop week op shop shopping

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