Where charity begins

charity-shop

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by Beverley Wilson

A young woman comes into the shop, looking for a book on printing or calligraphy.

‘I’m getting married soon and we don’t have much money, so I want to print the place cards myself’, she tells the assistant. As she is leaving, she is obviously attracted by a decorative, antique-style telephone, priced at $45.

A female customer notices. ‘Well, buy it!’ she tells the girl. Laughing, the young woman says, ‘I can’t afford it. I’m getting married.’ ‘Then I’ll buy it for you!’ says the customer—and she does! One happy bride-to-be, and smiles all round.

Welcome to This’N’That Community Store, an op shop in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, which has become an integral part of its community and an opportunity to engage in mission with its people. It is also a highly effective fundraiser for ministries of the LCA Victoria/Tasmania District.

While these ministries have changed over time, This’N’That Community Store has remained true to its original vision for supporting families and individuals in need, whether their needs are physical, emotional, practical or spiritual.

On 14 September This’N’That celebrates 20 years in business at Brentford Square shopping centre, Forest Hill. It currently employs a manager—Barbara Franklin-Browne— two part-time assistant managers and an army of willing volunteers donating time and professional expertise. Over time there have been five managers and five assistant managers, each contributing new ideas and innovations. A management committee meets regularly to monitor the store’s operation, plan and distribute funds.

Volunteers are at its heart, each bringing their special talents and skills—dedicated volunteers like Freda Miles, aged 95. Freda still works in the store four days each week and walks…

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