Cobram Uniting Church op shop helping others

By Kieren Tilly

Barbara White remembers the day a young fruit worker from Fiji broke down in tears in the Uniting Church op shop.

‘‘The weather was getting a bit cool and he needed long pants, all he had were shorts,’’ she said.

‘‘He gave me the idea that the work situation was not the best and, as such, had very little money to hand.’’

Ms White set about organising two pairs of jeans and two shirts for him.

When she handed them to him and said there was no charge, tears started rolling down his cheeks and the ‘‘massive bear of a man reached down and gave me a grateful hug’’.

‘‘It’s not only nice to be able to help people on a one-on-one basis, but it gives me pleasure to help find things for people, be it a gift for a loved one or a piece of clothing for a special event,’’ she said.

‘‘Everything we do here is to help raise funds for a variety of Uniting Church charities.’’

It would appear the customers who walk through the doors are as varied as the items on sale.

‘‘We have had grey nomads looking for simple things like cutlery and coffee mugs; we get overseas dairy workers coming in looking for work clothes.’’

On a sadder note, the shop has seen customers come in looking for a suit to wear to a funeral or even just a tie to wear to go with the suit they have already, for the same purpose.

‘‘We have had on occasion ladies going to a stylish event looking for period clothing,’’ Ms White said.

‘‘Every year we have a fashion parade for the ladies in our hall and host a supper, it’s great because the more items we sell the more people we can help.’’

Praising the volunteers she works with, Ms White said whether it was daily, weekly or monthly that they came to help, the job would not get done without them.

‘‘Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, it is a great opportunity to not only do great charity work but a chance to socialise,’’ she said.

‘‘But a big thank-you must also go to the community who give us great support, everyone who buys something is helping someone who cannot buy something.’’

● Cobram’s Uniting Church op shop is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 3.30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 12.30pm. If you are interested in volunteering, phone Ms White on 0458 221 123.