Thirty years ago the Singleton Op Shop on John Street opened its doors, selling primarily second-hand clothing at reasonable prices to the public. Two years later in 1989, the volunteers and members had turned over enough money to start making annual donations to local nursing homes. Today, the original price list remains on the wall as you enter the shop, and the tradition of giving back to the community continues with the committee revealing that they have donated just shy of $1.3million to various charities.
Every year the profits made at the Singleton Op Shop are distributed back to local charities and the worthy recipients are invited along to a low-key ceremony to collect their cheques.
The back room of the shop is always the location, and it is a pretty straight forward process.
However, on Wednesday the ritual was surrounded with some humble fanfare to celebrate three decades of operation and a cumulative donation figure of $1 299 797.50.
Treasurer, Anne Hoddle, says the figure even surprised us.
A sentiment echoed by the shop’s current longest serving volunteers, Maureen Butler, Joyce Ellis and Elsie Williams.
Maureen, who was there when the doors opened back in 1987, admits they never imagined giving back so much.
“Especially when you are only selling cheap items,” adds Joyce.
Keeping their prices low and ensuring the money they donate stays within the local community, is a great source of pride for the hard-working volunteers, committee, and members.
Secretary, Robyn Bendeich, reiterates they only donate to local charities but over the years they have diversified.
In recent times regular donations have been made to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Singleton Support Group, Cancer Assist, Singleton Hospital Auxiliary and Palliative Care.
Although they never leave out the original benefactors, our local nursing homes – Alroy Hostel, Elizabeth Gates, Mercy and Cooinda.
“This year for the first time we are giving to the local office of the Cancer Council, the Senior Citizens for chairs with arms, and Singleton Public School’s special education unit so they can continue to participate in the Riding for the Disabled Program,” Robyn says.
“But we could not do it without the support of the local community and our volunteers.”
An appreciative Singleton Public School’s Judy Sattler collected their cheque for $2000 and says they have seven students who look forward to travelling up to St Heliers every fortnight to ride.
While, the Cancer Council’s Glen Parsons ensured the $7000 donation they received will be used to fund the Singleton Transport for Treatment and Home Help programs.
Janice Goodwin, who represented the Senior Citizens, says they need to replace 60 chairs at the centre.
“We need chairs with arms and so far we have only replaced ten so this $2000 will go a long way toward doing that,” she says.
This year’s donations total $60 000 and also included: Alroy, Cooinda, Friends of Mercy Singleton, Elizabeth Gates, Palliative Care, Westpac Helicopter Singleton Support Group, Singleton Hospital Auxiliary.