We celebrated National Op shop Week in early October and recognised the great work of the staff and volunteers that run VMCH’s four opportunity shops and warehouse across Melbourne.
Maria Ferrerio is one of those people and has been a volunteer at VMCH’s Heathmont Op Shop for 25 years.
Maria recalls visiting the op shop while her five children were young. She especially enjoyed talking to the friendly staff that worked there. They obviously liked her too and invited her to join their team of volunteers when she retired from her job as a restaurant cook.
“I have been there a long, long time. You meet lovely people. You get to know them, their children and grandchildren. It’s nice. Really nice.”
Her day at the op shop includes serving customers, helping keep the op shop tidy and sorting through donated items.
Her favourite thing is meeting new people and listening to their stories.
“You get to know the customers, they tell you their life stories and it’s really nice.”
Op Shop Week
When people donate goods or shop at our op shops, they are helping us sustain and grow our services. Income from our op shops also help us invest in resources that might otherwise not be available to people that are disadvantaged and in need of a helping hand.
Our op shops, located in Wantirna, Ferntree Gully, Balwyn and Heathmont, are also much more. They provide work experience and social connections for our volunteers who come from different walks of life.
The Heathmont Op Shop manager, Anita Gleeson, said volunteers were the heart and soul of the op shop.
Their dedication to their jobs and customers creates a warm and friendly atmosphere, she said.