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Ready to roll . . . 54 Church manager Noeleen Gillson (left) and Hospice Shop manager Karyn Lewis are ready to get the stores up and running again. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

Timaru’s two hospice shops are preparing to open their doors again, but with strict protocols to ensure volunteer and customer safety.

With Hospice South Canterbury’s major fundraiser for the year Caroline Bay Rock and Hop having to be cancelled because of Covid-19, funds raised from sales of donated items will be more important than ever for the organisation.

Last year, the Rock and Hope raised $100,000 for Hospice South Canterbury.

Marketing and events manager Jeanna Munro said the Hospice Shop and 54 Church were putting in place processes to ensure safety in both stores.

“Because both are busy shops, and both have a lot of stuff in there, the shop managers have been spending a lot of time thinking about how people will come in, lines on the floor, everything that’s needed to keep the 2m distance, how they’re going to serve people, and where people will exit.”

Ms Munro said Hospice had put out a call for more volunteers to help manage customers, as many current helpers were over the age of 70, or had health conditions that made them more vulnerable.

The two stores had been closed for several weeks, even before the Government lockdown announcement.

“They closed virtually on the same time as the Rock and Hop was cancelled, As soon as it became evident it was a health risk to our volunteers, we closed the shops.”

Ms Munro said Hospice was hoping people had used the time in lockdown to have a clean-out of items they no longer needed, and were ready to donate. Hospice was able to do contactless pick-ups, and there would be separate drop-off areas at each store.