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Ever thought about Volunteering?

06 March 2012

It was 1994, it was hot.  I was dressed up in an old, mangey full body koala suit standing in the middle of the Victoria Bridge in Brisbane's CBD on a hot Queensland summers day.

Crazy?  Possibly.  This was my first experience as a volunteer, 19 years old shaking a tin as a koala bear for Australian Wilderness Society.  I was very relieved when they told me I could work in their retail shop on Albert Street instead!

As a serial fundraiser and general all-things-socially-kind-supporter, people often ask me how they can get involved and help charities.  Volunteering is a great place to start.  There are a whole range of options if you are interested in volunteering and I would encourage you to check out the Volunteering Australia website for something in your area.  I have written before about donating your skills to a charity, but today I want to tell you about an amazing lady called Desley, who runs a small charity thrift shop in Moorooka, Brisbane.  Like many charities I know, Desley really needs your help.

Desley has been running Sandlewood Projects for approximately three years, providing a range of support to disadvantaged people, including:

- providing free clothing / toiletries/toys/ etc to women and their children from domestic violence shelters in Brisbane;

-  start up homewares packages for people exiting crisis care;

- supporting other agencies with free clothing and household items for their disadvantaged client base;

- assist disadvantaged families with funeral expenses (funds permitting);

- providing food vouchers (funds permitting) to disadvantaged community members;

- providing support to local aged, refugee and displaced community members.

Desley lives by the mantra that nobody in genuine need will be turned away empty handed.

Desley's main source of income is generated through the Sandlewood Op Shop at Shop 5, 407 Beaudesert Road, Moorooka.  Due to lack of volunteers, the shop may have to close next month, in March 2012.  Desley would be very grateful for anyone willing to donate some of their time, to become a volunteer in the Sandlewood Op Shop in Moorooka.

In particular, Desley needs help on Saturdays from 9am to 12noon, and weekday afternoons from 1pm to 5pm.  Even if you could just commit to one shift per month, it would make a difference.  Perhaps you could volunteer with a friend or your mum?  Or use it as your \"get away from the kids\" time!  (mums nodding in understanding).  If you are interested, please contact Desley on email

CAN'T HELP DESLEY BY BEING A VOLUNTEER?  Thats okay!  Here are some other ways you can help!

- follow Sandlewood Projects on facebook here

- send this post to someone you know who might be willing to volunteer

- reshare this post on your facebook or twitter profile

- shop at Sandlewood Op Shop and pick up a retro and recycled treasure

- donate quality second hand goods to Desley, or a charity shop near you

- drop into your local thrift shop and ask them how you can help them

- working in a retail shop doesn't suit you, but you still want to volunteer, send me an email at and I will see if I can help you!

THANK YOU!  Together I know we can keep the doors of Sandlewood Op Shop open!


Tara Castle 

Social Money Solutions

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