Christmas is the busiest time for charity stores across the Hunter Region and many of them will trade throughout the Christmas period so that they can keep up with the amount of donations they are expecting to receive.
“Many households have a little bit of extra time over the holiday period to do a clean out so it is generally our busiest time of year,” said Karen Sills-Davis, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Maitland/Newcastle, Vinnies Retail Coordinator and spokesperson for Hunter Charity Store Working Group.
Charity stores play a vital role in our region as the ultimate recyclers – finding new homes for materials that may otherwise end up in landfill and at the same time helping those who need a hand up in the local community.
“At Vinnies, 44 per cent of our revenue comes from sales at our Vinnies Shops and goes toward the good work we deliver” said Mrs Sill-Davis.
“But the quality of items donated to charities is very important. For items to be suitable for resale they need to be of the same quality you would be comfortable in giving to a friend or family member. After Christmas, we receive unwanted gifts so sorting them keeps our volunteers busy and the stores become a real treasure trove for new gifts,” she added.
Mrs Sills-Davis asks that “people make their donations during business hours, particularly if they don’t fit into the donation stations located around the community or outside the stores. If items are left outside overnight they are often ruined by the weather and can become unsuitable for resale.”
Charity stores generally accept a wide range of goods but this does vary from store to store. Mrs Sills-Davis and Hunter Councils encourage residents to consult the new Small Acts Big Change
website (smallactsbigchange.com.au). Small Acts Big Change is the Hunter community “go to” site on how to miminise waste and provides information on how to dispose of items that might not be suitable for donation to charities and provides information on bulk waste collections.
To support these efforts, Hunter Councils and numerous charity stores are now working together under the Hunter Regional Waste Resource Recovery Strategy supported by the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative, funded from the waste levy.