Relaunched shop bringing hope to Gladstone’s needy
A SHOP that has relaunched in Gladstone is bringing hope into the lives of people doing it tough - and occasionally making them cry 'tears of joy and thankfulness'.
The hOPe Shop was born in 2018 after the Gladstone Church of Christ identified a need in the community for cheap clothing, food and small home essentials.
"We held a number of garage sales and then decided to open the hOPe Shop as part of the Hopelink Program," shop caretaker Lyall Muller said.
Closed for the past eight weeks due to COVID-19, Mr Muller said the shop at 19 Dalrymple Dr, Toolooa, aimed to transform the lives of the less fortunate.
"I said to my pastor last week 'we have got to stop making women cry'," he said.
"But they are crying tears of joy and thankfulness.
"We relaunched the hOPe Shop last week."
The hOPe Shop is part of the Hopelink program, which was first launched by the Gladstone Church of Christ in 2009.
"We wanted to be involved with our community and express God's love and be connected with the community," Mr Muller said.
"The program was established to support and care for the economically and socially vulnerable people in our community.
"Our motto is bringing hope to the Gladstone community because life can be better."
Since then, the Hopelink program has run mentoring mums' programs, financial counselling, a male support group Inside Circle that now runs as its own entity, CAP Christians Against Poverty, a playgroup and emergency relief for those in need.
Recently they have teamed with Foodbank Queensland to provide discount groceries which will be available in the next few weeks.
"The food relief and the hOPe shop work together to help people out who are in need," Mr Muller said.
"We also acknowledge the wonderful work that the Anglican Church is doing with the Gladstone Food Centre.
"We have set up a number of people who have come to town escaping domestic violence situations and other problems in life."
Being National Volunteers Week, Mr Muller said the shop wouldn't run without the generous time given by volunteers.
"We always welcome any donations and new volunteers," he said.
Over the past few years, the shop has also been working with the wider community, including work for the dole participants.
"We have a program going with Toolooa State High School where we host work experience students," Mr Muller said.
Toolooa State High School principal Justin Harrison said Year 10 Flexible Learning Centre students participated in a fantastic work experience opportunity with the help of the Hopelink Op Shop in term 2 last year.
Following an induction day, Mr Harrison said the students were put to work for a week in the hOPe Shop.
"They then spent one week each sorting out clothes and other second hand items, learning how to serve customers, and handling money," he said.
"This was the perfect opportunity, in a friendly and supportive environment, for the students to come to terms with their anxiety about work in the real world.
"The school was so impressed with the way Rae and her team worked with the students and are looking forward to sending this year's students to Hopelink for a similar experience."
The Hopelink playgroup is on Thursdays when COVID restrictions are lifted.
The hOPe shop is open Wednesday to Friday from 8.30am-2pm and Saturday from 8.30am-1pm.
For more information visit Hopelink's hOpe Shop on Facebook.