Therese Mitchel (front) and The Agape Outreach Opshop crew are ecstatic to be up and running. Photo: Scott Powick
Therese Mitchel (front) and The Agape Outreach Opshop crew are ecstatic to be up and running. Photo: Scott Powick

‘200 extra’: Why op shops opening means food for vulnerable

SOME of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis were charity organisations relying on income from their second-hand opportunity shops.

With the easing of restrictions, op shops like homeless support organisation Agape Outreach in Tweed Heads could not be more excited to welcome customers with open arms.

With the community taking time in isolation to clean out their closets there are lots of bargains to be found.

Founder Theresa Mitchell said while fundraising money had dried up the need during the coronavirus pandemic was growing.

She estimated the organisation was providing meal and support to an extra 200 people a week across the Gold Coast, Tweed and down to Byron Bay.

"We went from 400 people a week to 600," Ms Mitchell said.

She explained while a number of people suffering homelessness were housed in hotels for a month under government funding, many were now back out on the street.

"We can't find some of our homeless people as some have moved on, but there are lots of people in need that never were before.

"It is taking a while to sort out who is new and who is on the edge of homeless.

"It's great to have the op shop open again to have a little bit of money coming in."

Ms Mitchell said Agape Outreach's long-term goal to build its own self-sufficient tiny home village in the Tweed to help people overcome homelessness had been put on hold because of the coronavirus.

"We are reliant on raising money as well as businesses' input and right now we can't do that," she said.

"The land we were originally looking at has sold.

"We still have the goal for the tiny houses village but at the moment (we are) in survival mode."

Agape Op Shop is at 56 Recreation St, Tweed Heads South and normally operates 9am-4pm although hours may differ.

For more information visit https://agapeoutreachinc.com/



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