GOLOCAL

Stratford op shops have been busy sorting through donations and restocking shelves after reopening.

St Andrew's Op Shop, the Stratford Salvation Army Family Store and the Stratford Hospice Shop began operating again when the country moved to alert level 2.

Proceeds from the three op shops go straight back into the community.

Hospice Taranaki chief executive Paul Lamb says before opening, Stratford Hospice worked through a plan of how they would operate under alert level 2.

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Hospice Taranaki chief executive Paul Lamb and south group retail manager Tania Brown.
Hospice Taranaki chief executive Paul Lamb and south group retail manager Tania Brown.

"Most of our volunteers are in the age group where they are at risk. We wanted a thorough plan of safety protocols for both the volunteers and staff to keep everyone safe."

Protocols include safely sorting through donations, keeping everything clean, following the 2m social distancing and having hand sanitiser available.

"We have also introduced a contactless payment option, which has gone really well."

He says customers are still buying a wide range of products, with no trends.

"We're so thankful to the community for their support and donations."

Without the strength of the volunteers, he says, the business wouldn't be able to operate.

"We're so thankful for what the volunteers do. They're all happy to be back."

 St Andrews Op Shop has been busy.
St Andrews Op Shop has been busy.

St Andrew's Op Shop worker Christine Mattock says the volunteers have been busy rearranging the shop.

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"When we closed for lockdown, we had summer stock on the rack. We're in the process of swapping this over to our winter stock. We spent two days sorting through the clothes to go on the racks and a day hanging them up."

She says she is thankful for the volunteers who donate their time.

The shop started accepting donations again at the start of level 2. She says there has been a lot of bric-a-brac, books and DVDs donated.

The most popular items being sold are winter clothing and blankets, Christine says.

To keep the volunteers and the workers safe, there is hand sanitiser available and the 2m social distancing rule is in place.

Stratford Salvation Army Family Store manager Liz Collins says she is happy the shop is reopened.

The Stratford Salvation Army Family Store are busy sorting through donations.
The Stratford Salvation Army Family Store are busy sorting through donations.

"The volunteers are really happy it's open again. We're all happy to be back. It's a great team environment."

Captain Rob Gardiner, assistant officer for the Taranaki Region, says the Salvation Army helps the community in a number of ways, including a food bank and applying psychosocial first aid.

"We enjoy supporting local, and our community, it is in our heart. We are here for our community."

The layout of the shop has been changed to enable social distancing and there is hand sanitiser available. Surfaces are also being regularly cleaned.

Rob says big volumes are being donated, with clothing and bric-a-brac being the most donated items.

"We're very thankful for both the donations and the work of the volunteers, their dedication is astounding."

Liz says the shop has been very busy.

"We are seeing the same amount of customers that we would at Christmas."