Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Unwanted gifts' new lease on life

Shepparton's opportunity stores are experiencing a post-Christmas boom, with people dropping off large quantities of unwanted goods.

SOPHIE MALCOLM January 10, 2013 4:30am

Shepparton's Hospice Opportunity Shop staff manager Sharyn Oxenbury and volunteer Joan Wilson.

A vase with a price tag still attached, a box of perfume and a dozen Angry Birds cups sit on a table ready to be priced and sold.

Behind the scenes at Shepparton’s Hospice Opportunity Shop, a small army of staff and volunteers are busy ironing, tagging, hanging and sorting.

January is the store’s busiest month and manager Sharyn Oxenbury said they had seen an ‘‘influx’’ of donations in recent weeks.

‘‘The bins are chockers,’’ Mrs Oxenbury said, recalling a recent donation of ‘‘bags and bags and bags’’ of brand new clothes.

‘‘I think people are home, parents are home with the family for a couple of weeks at Christmas, so they decide to clean out cupboards.’’

A team of three staff and about 35 volunteers work throughout the week to sort through bins of everything from shoes to suitcases.

Usually they sort through two full bins a week — last week’s donations would have filled 12.

Mrs Oxenbury said many ‘‘regifted’’ Christmas presents also found new homes at the shop after the silly season finished.

Books, clothes and general bric-a-brac were among the top donated items — along with ‘‘thousands and thousands’’ of toys, she said.

‘‘We get things that have probably been given and they really don’t want them, so we’re lucky that ... we benefit from it, it’s really really good.

‘‘You get all the presents that mums get, beautiful babies’ toys and things like that,’’ Mrs Oxenbury said, as she held up a stuffed turtle with the tags still on.

‘‘They’re not old, they’re just last year’s toy.

‘‘You can’t give them away, we put them out for two or three dollars.’’

Salvos Stores sustainability and waste manager Donald Munro said the Salvos had seen a ‘‘huge influx of donations’’ across all their stores in the past few weeks.

Mr Munro said the increase was due to a combination of ‘‘weather and festivities’’.

‘‘People start clearing out their cupboards when the weather starts to change in November and then at Christmas when they have to make room for new presents,’’ Mr Munro said.

‘‘It continues right through January while people are on holidays, up until about February.’’

Mrs Oxenbury said with all profits from the shop going to Goulburn Valley Hospice Care, she appreciated the boost in donations and encouraged people to keep giving.

‘‘We’re really really lucky,’’ she said.

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