Bellingen, Macksville and Kempsey Vinnies stores need help

Vinnies Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Green. Photo: Supplied

Vinnies Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Green. Photo: Supplied

A number of Vinnies shops across the Mid North Coast are looking for more volunteers, including those at Bellingen, Macksville and Kempsey.

The Mid North Coast now has more than 80,000 residents experiencing poverty, and nearly half that number are at risk. The shortage and high cost of rental accommodation is identified as a major social issue.

Vinnies Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Green said more volunteers are needed to keep up with the high demand on the Mid North Coast.

”Some shops have just enough volunteers to keep open on week days and Saturday mornings, but not enough to ensure backfill if two or three people can’t come in,” he said.

Shop volunteers are proud that Vinnies helps provide a safety net for families and individuals doing it tough, according to the manager of Vinnies Bellingen shop Alison Traynor.

“Volunteering is a great way to help less fortunate people in our local communities,” Ms Traynor said.

“Our support services are funded solely through sales of donated clothes and household items in our shops. These services include food, school clothes and holiday excursions, transport to get to job interviews and medical appointments, and financial counselling.”

Mr Green said Vinnies is urging any community members who might be interested in volunteering to do so.

“We’re strongly encouraging anyone who might like to try working in one of our shops to give me a call on 0428-977-454 or drop into their local shop to discuss how they might help. Vinnies has 28 shops on the North Coast between Tweed Heads and Port Macquarie-Laurieton, and a total of around 1100 volunteers. They can work for periods ranging from a few hours to full days.

“Volunteers range in age from their twenties to their nineties. They may work front-of-house, managing the tills and the shop displays, or out-back sorting clothing and other goods and ensuring that everything going on sale is clean and in good condition.

“Thanks to the generosity of Vinnies volunteers we can spend a large amount of money providing vital support for local people in real need,” Mr Green said.