Two Ballarat volunteers have been working behind the scenes sorting our pre-loved clothing, blankets and treasures while a pandemic continues around us.
Kate Walker and Jill Gale volunteer for Ballarat Hospice Care's op shop service, sorting donated items at a Wendouree warehouse.
Once sorted, the donated items are transported to the Friends of Hospice Op Shop in Sturt Street.
Since the COVID-10 pandemic began 18 months ago, the two volunteers have regularly met at the warehouse to ensure the quantity of the donated items did not grow too big.
Despite the op shop temporarily closing for most of last year, donations were still being made to Ballarat Hospice Care and they needed to be sorted.
"A trailer of goods is left here at the warehouse and we sort it - toys, clothes, blankets - in bags. We try to reuse everything," Mrs Walker said.
"Donations continued right through the pandemic."Kate Walker
The majority of the donations over the past 18 months came through deceased estates and those people who received palliative care liked to give something back to the not-for-profit organisation.
Mrs Walker likes to sort the bric-a-brac while Mrs Gale likes to sort the clothing. The pair like working at the warehouse because no one knows they are there and they said they liked it that way.
They have formed a great bond and are witty - a characteristic that can help keep people's chins up during a difficult time.
Mrs Walker said she and Mrs Gale made the work fun during the COVID-19 restrictions.
"We have fun. We have to make it fun. We work well together," she said.
Mrs Gale said she wanted to give back to Ballarat Hospice Care after the organisation supported her, her family and husband during his illness.
The two volunteers said the pandemic did not change the way they worked in the warehouse, nor did it make their work challenging. They kept volunteering their time.
This is unlike the vast majority of Ballarat residents, who had to work from home.
Income from the Friends of Hospice Op Shop is valuable because it eases the reliance on state government funds and is used to further enhance patient and family quality of life and continual improvements on how Ballarat Hospice Care provides care.
This includes the purchase of equipment, allowing people with a life-threatening illness to be cared for in their home.
By donating goods, people are not just helping Ballarat Hospice Care but also the environment.
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