In addition to raising essential funds for palliative care, Harbour Hospice’s local shops are doing their bit for the environment.
Donated items that might otherwise have been bound for the tip are restored, recycled and given a new lease of life.
Warkworth Garage Sale manager Grant Vincent describes the six-day-a-week shop in Morrison Drive as “one big recycle depot”.
“People come here and say ‘I’m on my way to the tip; what do you want?’” he says.
Donated stained and worn clothing gets a second life after volunteers cut them into rags which raise up to $7000 a year for hospice services.
Volunteers place broken appliances and equipment into a bin for collection by a scrap metal dealer, raising around $120 a month but, more importantly, keeping bulky items out of landfill.
The Garage Sale only accepts items deemed saleable, but this does not rule out furniture needing minor repairs.
“Sometimes we will do small repairs but mostly we will be encouraging buyers to go to the Men’s Shed when it opens, and they will show them how to fix it,” Grant says.
At the hospice shops in Warkworth and Wellsford, volunteers take home clothes to wash and repair; cushions to refill and recover; fabric to sew into reusable bags; wool to crochet bags, tea cosies, slippers and babies’ shoes; and wooden toys to restore.
Mosaic artists buy boxes of broken china and staff use donated, partly-used writing pads as note paper.
Warkworth shop volunteers makes twiddle muffs for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and can barely keep up with the demand.
Madalene Aitken sews zips, beads, lace, crochet flowers and faux fur on to squares knitted by fellow volunteers Pam Thomas and Faye McNaught. The squares can be laid flat on the lap or buttoned around the hands for bonus warmth.
At the Wellsford Hospice Shop, volunteer Heather Power makes thousands of TV slippers from donated wool.
Out of season and unsold clothing is given to church and community groups to distribute where needed.
Jeweller Peter Cotton services and replaces batteries in donated watches, and local horticulturists donate seasonal produce. It is sold fresh or made into jams, raising about $20,000 a year.
Harbour Hospice retail manager Maria Baird says the shops are “turning second-hand goods into first-class care”.
“Funds raised in the shops allow our nurses, doctors and family support team to continue supporting patients and families in their own homes and at Tui House,” she says.