Justine has been an avid thrift shopper for some time now, appreciating not just the financial but also the environmental benefits of buying pre-loved goods from op shops rather than new items off the rack. 

“Not everyone can afford to buy new stuff. Also, not everybody wants to buy new—we want to recycle or upcycle rather than buy new items. It is about saving money, as well as getting items that are still usable out of the landfill,” says Justine. 

When the Red Cross Shop in Richmond resumed operations with its personal contactless shopping service under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, Justine was among the first few customers to reach out and purchase  from the store. 

“I bought a microwave, a blender and a few winter hats and socks for my family,” shares Justine.  

“I’d already seen the items in store prior to the lockdown and for some reason I’ve put off buying them. But when I couldn’t purchase from other stores either, I went ahead and bought them as soon as the Red Cross Shop went back to business.” 

Justine and her kids, Lucy-Mae and Jack, show off the blender, ironing board and winter hat they bought from the Red Cross Shop in Richmond. 

Most Red Cross Shops across New Zealand resumed operations by offering easy contactless shopping options for customers soon after the country moved to Alert Level 3.  

According to Gail French, Coordinator of Red Cross Shop in Richmond, this action was gladly welcomed by people in the community who were looking forward to purchase items they need at an affordable price. 

“When we started taking orders via phone, people were really grateful. They’re just glad that we’re there to accommodate their needs,” she says. 

“Home appliances and furniture were among the most in-demand products. It seemed that a lot of people in our area were in the process of moving houses and they didn’t have furniture when we went into lockdown, so they were just glad that we have affordable items to offer them.” 

Looking forward to Red Cross Shops reopening

As Aotearoa moves to Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14 May 2020, many Red Cross Shops including in Richmond are gearing up to reopen their doors to the public .

“We’ve been preparing for our shop’s reopening these past few weeks,” Gail shares, “deep-cleaning in our stores, ensuring that necessary hygiene and physical distancing protocols are in place and that key health and safety information materials are visibly posted in our stores for volunteers, staff and our valued customers to see.” 

Meanwhile, as a shop volunteer, Justine says she looks forward to helping the team again and catching up with their regular customers. 

“I have missed the social interaction with my fellow volunteers and customers,” she says.  

“Some people might not know it, but there are actually heaps of customers who visit charity shops—some of them even come on a regular basis. Although I don’t really know all of them by name, we recognise each other and we always greet each other.” 

About Red Cross Shops

New Zealand Red Cross has 53 Red Cross Shops across Aotearoa.  

Our shops offer fabulous pre-loved items ranging from clothing, homeware and furniture to everyone at affordable prices. And the best part? Every dollar spent in the shops goes to help vulnerable people in communities across New Zealand and even abroad. 

If you want to be a shop volunteer like Justine, you can click here