Op shops help save lives

Lifeline Kiama volunteer co-ordinator Rose Cook with volunteers Jenny Smith and Edna Campbell preparing for National Op Shop Week. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Lifeline Kiama volunteer co-ordinator Rose Cook with volunteers Jenny Smith and Edna Campbell preparing for National Op Shop Week. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

ACCORDING to Lifeline South Coast, 62 per cent of women have clothes in their wardrobe that have never been worn or still have tags on.

As a result, Lifeline is calling on the public to donate unused clothes to its Kiama store, during National Op Shop Week.

National Op Shop Week runs from August 24 to 31, and aims to publicise the need for donations of good quality clothing and bric-a-brac to the shops.

The campaign is a joint initiative of the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations and DoSomething.

Lifeline is a national charity providing Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Each year, Lifeline South Coast answers 17,000 calls.

Funds raised from their South Coast and Illawarra stores will be used to help the region's people talk about their problems and find ways to solve them.

Edna Campbell has been volunteering at the Kiama shop for two decades, and said the perception of op shops had changed during that time.

"We've updated and are more modern than what the old second-hand shops used to be," she said. "A lot of customers say it is like walking into a boutique shop."

Mrs Campbell said regular customers travelled from areas such as Shellharbour to seek out a bargain, while helping out a vital cause. Customers spanned a range of ages, the store particularly proving popular with young people looking for items to wear to theme parties and formals.

"Occasionally they'll buy it, wear it to a party and donate it back the next week," she said.

"People take a day trip on the train, travel from Sydney to do the second-hand shops.

"People think, 'why pay $35 in a shop when I can come here and get it for $10, and have it to go to a good cause?"'

Grahame Gould, executive director of Lifeline South Coast said they were particularly seeking donations of jewellery, women's tops, books and bric-a-brac.

You can donate items at Lifeline's Kiama store, located upstairs in Centrepoint Arcade, Terralong Street.

Lifeline is also seeking volunteers to staff its Kiama and Wollongong stores.

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