Congratulations to St Mark’s Op Shop in Emerald which is celebrating 30 years of service to the local community. Over the 30 years more than 1 million dollars has been raised and donated to the community.
It all began when the Hills Palliative Care service, which provided practical help and support to people in the last stages of life, was looking for ways to cover its costs. Leaders of the palliative care service met with the then incumbent vicar of St Mark’s Anglican Church and together they proposed an opportunity shop.
The joint commitment was that it should be a volunteer-run organisation to ensure all proceeds went back into the local community. St Mark’s offered to provide the premises and to cover the costs of insurance and utilities. At that time Emerald didn’t have any op shops at all so this venture not only helped raise funds to assist the palliative care service but also helped the environment by providing Emerald’s first clothing and goods recycling station.
It is worth noting that the building at St Mark’s on Church Street, in which the op shop is housed, was built in 1920 and has at times been used variously as a hall, vicarage and parish centre. Now 100 years old and although much changed, it remains one of the older buildings in the Emerald township.
When the palliative care service received government funding and was professionalised, it moved away from the hills. The Emerald CFA then became a major partner in the shop, along with the Clematis CFA and the Emerald SES.
One of the few operating costs is rubbish disposal. Other than this cost, all the proceeds are ploughed back into the community. It is appropriate to celebrate this 30-year milestone for a venture which has flourished due to continued community support and because of the mutual benefit it provides.
Over the years there has been a steady stream of wonderful volunteers who sort, clean, display and sell goods. Not to mention the generous donations that come in every single day. A big thank you to all who have contributed to this wonderful hub of community support.
St Mark’s Op Shop is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions but is looking forward to reopening and welcoming new and old customers once the restrictions are lifted.
If you would like more information or you would like to volunteer, please contact Magda on 0402300711.
Mark Lockwood Porter