Everyone needs a place where they are able to have a chat with willing and open ears. We also all need a place where bargains and treasures can be found. The St. Luke’s Op Shop, Pride St. is one place that offers both to the Torquay and surrounding community. Many of the customers who go to the shop visit just as much for the company that the friendly staff provide as they do to shop.
Staff is made up of no less than 20 unpaid volunteers who pride themselves in their friendly and cheerful attitudes. Working hard with smiles on their faces, they ensure that their customers get what they need, and that their friendly and efficient reputation is kept at its peak. These volunteers give up their own time to help their community. They are always looking for more volunteers who are ready and willing to help.
One volunteer is Barry Butcher, one of the shop’s coordinators, who has been working at St. Luke’s Op Shop for the last 12 months. His work started at the shop after a friend of his invited him to come along and help out one day. After seeing first-hand just how friendly the rest of the volunteers were and how rewarding the work was, it wasn’t long before he was volunteering on a regular basis.
Since the beginning of the holiday season, they’ve actually had to stop taking in any more donations as there have been so many that they just can’t hold any more. This isn’t a problem that isn’t just restricted to the holiday season. When you have a community that is as generous as theirs is, there is only so much they can store.
This also means that their product range can’t be beaten. Looking through the shop you’ll be able to find nearly anything from clothing in every size to little knick-knacks that make a house feel like a home. The only things that the shop doesn’t sell are electrical goods and large pieces of furniture.
If someone brings in clothing that is unsaleable, they are recycled via Statewide Cleaning Cloths which works to give the clothing items a new purpose. Giving unusable clothing items new use isn’t the only thing that the shop and its volunteers do. They also put all of their proceeds (that are left over after paying for the operational needs of the shop itself) towards various projects.
They donate to the Homework Club for refugees and asylum seeker students. It’s run by Corio-Norlane Anglican Parish in partnership with Anglicare Victoria. Their donations help to support the coordinator for the program.
They donate to Torquay Food Aid who deliver food parcels to local families and individuals in need. This operates with Barwon Health and is supported by various churches, businesses, community groups and individuals.
They also donate to OUTPOST in Geelong for the homeless and needy; the Geelong Refugee Assistance Program; and to Geelong Mums in need of items for their babies and young children.
From now until February the St. Luke’s Op Shop (located at 17-19 Pride Street, Torquay) will be open from 9am until 1pm on Tuesdays, and 9am until 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Story and photo: Gemma Nicholls