Ballarat's op-shops are back open and need your help.
While several of the shops closed during lockdown, many are calling out for new volunteers to help out a wave of donations.
For several shops, item donations were limited through 2020, as there simply weren't enough people to sort through everyone's stuff - a lot of people had the same idea about cleaning out the house during lockdown, it appears.
While good-quality items are still in-demand, many shops still aren't allowing drop-offs at any time.
Uniting runs three op-shops in town - social enterprise coodinator in Ballarat Jamie Cameron said all of them had now returned to almost pre-COVID opening hours and sales levels.
"We've been thankfully very busy, as customers and donors realise we're open again," he said.
"It's been wonderful getting people back into the space, because there's a lot of friendships formed among the teams."
Money raised at the Ballarat op-shops stays in Ballarat, supporting key programs like the Breezeway and Meals for Change food programs, Lifeline calltakers, and the Albert Street emergency relief centre.
But without op-shops being open, it was harder to get reliable income, Mr Cameron said.
"Now we're open and generating sales again, thankfully we can support programs and help community members who need assistance," he said.
Right now, the need is for volunteers - every extra pair of hands helps.
"Even pre-COVID, we can always use extra volunteers, there's always something else to sort and something else to do, there are two large shops that require a lot of work within the space," he said.
"People come in to volunteer the time so they can contribute to the local community, some don't have family members close by so it's like an extended family for them as well, and in that social isolation, it's great they have connections here to keep them going."
The Red Cross is after volunteers as well - head of retail Richard Wood said stores have been open for a while, but anyone who can volunteer in Ballarat would be welcomed.
"Our inclusive environment welcomes everyone - from people looking for friendship to newly arrived migrants wanting to develop their English language skills, to those with a passion for sustainable fashion and job seekers keen for work experience in the retail sector," he said in a statement.
"Training is provided and no previous experience is required. Best of all, volunteering at a Red Cross Shop is a wonderful way to give back to communities facing tough times around Australia and overseas, with proceeds going to the life-changing work of Red Cross.
"The sale of goods in our shops could be used to fund a daily phone call to help elderly Australians stay safe and independent at home, a hot meal for teenagers facing homelessness, or clean drinking water for communities living in poverty."
For Uniting, items can still be donated, but only between 10am and 12pm on weekdays at Wendouree and Delacombe.
"If the item is something they'd offer to a friend or family member, that's the quality we're asking for," he said.
"If they're unsure if we can accept the item, always best to call ahead of time before coming - it never hurts to make that call.
IN THE NEWS
"At Uniting, we don't have the facilities to test and tag electrical items, so we refer them to other charities.
"A lot of our programs do deal with people who are experiencing homelessness, so winter jackets and jumpers are welcome at any time of the year - if we can't sell them, we use the programs to put them in the hands of people who need them the most.
"It's anything that can potentially have a second life, we're happy to find a good home."
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.