Not that you ever need an excuse to go to your local op shop but, if you also feel like a change of scenery, you need go no further than Boorowa.
Not only does the community op shop, set up by Lyn Diskon more than four years ago, help the Boorowa local community, its helping arm stretches even wider – and most recently, to Canberra’s Karinya House.
Formed by the community for the community, Karinya’s aim is to help all women with their pregnancies and with parenting if needed, as well as providing accommodation, help in gaining employment and pretty much anything else women need to get back on track again.
Karinya was one of the region’s first not-for-profits to realise that every woman deserved shelter, stability and to feel supported – and that no-one needed to fear the risk of violence, homelessness or, especially in today’s climate, the feeling of isolation.
Since it opened in 1997, Karinya has provided such safety for women, welcoming everyone who needs help.
For Lyn Diskon, knowing you have something like Karinya on your side is just the best feeling – and couldn’t be a better cause.
“The amount we give to charities each year is actually decided by our volunteers who each nominate a charity. Then the hours that they volunteer, as a percentage of total hours, are divided into the funds raised and distributed accordingly,” Lyn said.
And it’s a method that clearly works – more than $60,000 has already been donated to various charities since the plan was set up with help from the Boorowa Rotary Club.
“In the past we’ve given this money to lots of different groups – from children’s services to hospital auxiliaries, a food bank, pet rescue, historical society – and this time it’s Karinya.
“Almost every woman around here has had a personal connection with Karinya,” she said.
“So when one of our volunteers nominated Karinya, it was very well received.
“It’s just like this op shop – it’s a perfect example of what real community is all about.
“When we started the op shop we were so embraced by the community. Today, it is the community that owns it.”
So now the op shop can claim a variety of reasons for its success on almost as many fronts. Not only does it take in the stuff locals may no longer need, it sells those treasures back to other locals and visitors and uses the money to help the community.
But wait there’s more, according to Lyn. They are also helping the environment by reducing rubbish going to landfill.
Lyn is always keen to recruit new volunteers. Normal opening hours for the shop are 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday.
If you want to help – some volunteers opt for an hour a month while others want to work every day the shop is open – call Lyn on 0427 900 313 or email email@example.com