​The dedicated op shop team from Christ Church Melton led Mrs Tracey Burn, far left.

Melton parish shop makes most of opportunities for service

Christ Church Melton’s Op Shop has much more to other than what’s on the shelves, though there’s plenty there, too.

Mrs Tracey Burn has managed the shop for the past year, including its move into a $338,000 new building, but her work goes beyond the normal demands of retailing.

A $20,000 grant from the Melbourne Anglican Benevolent Society, administered by the Foundation, will aid her in her wider ministry helping some of the shop’s 23 volunteers – including three Sudanese women – to improve their life, language and employment skills and ensure that the op shop is a key part of a support chain for a community with many single-parent families, unemployed, pensioners, welfare recipients, low-paid workers and mortgage-stressed people.

“Part of the reason we got the (Foundation’s) support is that Tracey does a bit of work helping people build up their life skills and employment skills,” says Christ Church’s Vicar, Sr Elisa Helen.

“Since the GFC, op shop business across the board, especially in Melton, has really improved and I think the relationship with that is obvious.”

Mrs Burn – a parishioner for 10 years who ran her own café, worked in banking and still has her own scrapbooking business – says more than two-thirds of the parish’s income comes from the op shop. Sr Elisa acknowledges that the parish would not be viable without it.

But both women also want to ensure that the op shop, which is to be one of the parish’s means of outreach, gives
service to the local community and works in conjunction with the food bank.

“The shop supports the work of the (combined churches’) food bank,” Sr Elisa says. “Melton has a high percentage of unemployment and a lot of social issues.” The food bank does incredible service in the local community when people get to crisis point, with no-interest loans, financial counselling and so on.

“The shop supports that work so if people come from there with vouchers, the shop has been known to provide whole wardrobes for families, even fitting out a whole house with furniture…”

Mrs Burn says: “A lot of people did not know our church was there but now they recognise there is an Anglican church there through the op shop.”

 

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