Celebrating Volunteers

Belgrave Op Shop Manager Judy deBruyn received her volunteer award on behalf of Carlotta's Op Shop from Federal Member for Casey Aaron Violi. Picture: supplied by Taylah Eastwell

by Gabriella Vukman

An array of local volunteers and pillars of the community flocked to Chirnside Park on Saturday June 15, to celebrate their contributions.

This year’s annual Casey volunteer and community awards ceremony saw a crowd of 320 people acknowledged for their community service, with Federal Member for Casey Aaron Violi handing out the certificates.

Belgrave Op Shop manager and volunteer Judy deBruyn said it’s nice to be acknowledged for the work that they do.

“It was amazing to see all of the different groups at the ceremony and all of the work that they do,” she said.

From bartering with customers to sorting donations and depositing baby items to the St Kilda mums in Clayton, Judy’s days at the op shop are rarely humdrum.

Judy said the shop opens at 11am and customers come in and we tell them that there is a book room downstairs.

“People bring in donations and we sort the rubbish from the good stuff,” she said

“Over the last two years, we have given over $34,000 worth to different charities as well and also money to the all saints Church in Selby. That’s where we originate from.”

Judy said the op shop is able to give back and give some money and clothes to people who are less fortunate.

“It’s great to engage with people. A lot of people don’t speak to anyone else during their day so they come in and have a chat and all of that kind of stuff,” she said.

“We’ve only been open for just three years, and I volunteer because I like to have something to do basically and I’m retired.”

Judy received the volunteer award on behalf of the Carlotta’s Belgrave Op Shop after being nominated by the shop’s president.

The Saturday ceremony commenced at 9am and a light morning tea was provided.

Judy said that because volunteering doesn’t seem to be a thing as much as it used to be, a lot of groups struggle to get volunteers.

“We struggle sometimes to get enough people to work in the shop to keep it open and I think that is across the board,” she said.

“It is important that us volunteers keep doing what we are doing.”