Dedicated volunteers from St James Anglican Parish have recently opened their new opportunity shop in Franklin Street, Traralgon.
Aimed at building a compassionate base for those in need, Seek and You Will Find offers a space for people to purchase quality pre-loved goods and have a coffee and chat.
“There’s a lot of lonely people around, they’re feeling a bit lost, it’s nice for them to come in,” volunteer Di Ferguson said.
“I think the important thing for them is mixing with people, you know, seeing other people… we’ve got regulars who come in and they sit.
“We offer tea and the coffee for free. If you want to make a donation, that’s fine, but it’s not necessary.
“I think it helps them with their day. We’ve got pamphlets up there if they’re really in a bad way, for Beyond Blue or Anglicare. . . they’re there if there is a need.”
With a wide variety of items for sale, the store aims to provide for those in need.
“It’s all sizes, some are winter, it doesn’t matter what it is, we just keep putting (more) out,” she said.
“People who are really struggling can get good bargains,” Ms Ferguson.
Volunteers attributed their desire to contribute to the community as their biggest motivation for the shop.
“We’re here for the people – and that’s the biggest thing,” she said.
“We had a couple come in the other day – a mother and her daughter – and they’re off to Cambodia this weekend.
“They were buying clothes for an orphanage over there. Because we’re not a business as such, because we’re the Anglican community – I could say to them, ‘take what you need’, which was lovely to be able to do.
“You couldn’t do that in a business… in the end they made a donation, but that wasn’t necessary.”
Fellow volunteer Shelly Cooper spoke of the church’s dedication to providing for the wider community.
“We see this as a mission to people… it’s really great to see them come in and have a chin-wag to the girls and head-off,” Ms Cooper said.
Volunteers have described the response to the shop as “overwhelming”, with donations coming from across the region.
“I think deep-down, people like to give… so they drop their stuff off here; it’s a good feeling, isn’t it… when you give something to somebody else, much more than receiving,” she said.