By Kyra Gillespie
“Two weeks after the Black Saturday fires, our house burnt down. We’d just moved down from Perth, so all our things were still packed in their boxes and everything was wiped out. The fire was caused by my daughter’s pedestal fan,” Marg Gason said.
Pakenham resident Ms Gason knows what it is like to have everything taken in an instant and be left with nothing. If it wasn’t for the tireless work of charities, Marg and her family wouldn’t have had anywhere to go.
“After that happened, I knew what it was like to have to rely on services such as the 4Cs and the Salvation Army. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to pull through. That’s where my dream started to run my own op shop, so I could give back to the community that had helped me so much,” she said.
After months of looking, a lease opened up beside the 4Cs Crisis Relief Centre in Pakenham, and Marg opened up Giving it a Second Chance op shop.
“It took us over six months of searching for a space to set up, when we finally found the place where we are now next to the 4Cs. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe how perfect it was to be right next to them. We have such a good relationship with the 4Cs and we are constantly helping each other out.”
4Cs general manager Cheryl Daly couldn’t speak more highly of Marg and all the good work she does for them.
“Marg has such a heart; she always helps us out and helps the community in a wider sense. Part of what 4Cs does is house families who are fleeing domestic violence, and Marg helps to set them up,” Cheryl said.
“For these families, they usually leave with only the clothes on their backs, with no crockery, no bedding, or anything – that’s where Marg comes in. She helps with everything from clothing, shoes, and games for the kids. Families can get things they wouldn’t usually be able to afford and would otherwise miss out,” explained Cheryl.
Marg’s goal for the Second Chance op shop has always been to keep prices affordable for families. As someone who has been in need, she understands how important this is.
“The rent is expensive, and we’re hoping that one day we’ll be able to make a bit of money back. But for now, it’s all about helping the local community, and that means keeping the prices low and affordable for people.”
Marg runs the op shop with her mum, but also has employees from DVJS on board, providing work opportunities for people living with disabilities.
DVJS Business Development manager Andy Ernst is grateful that Marg offers work for their employees.
“Marg makes you feel like part of the family the minute you walk in the door; nothing is too much trouble. Regardless who you might be, you won’t be turned away.”
“The greatest gift Marg gives is the gift of believing in one’s self. We have people working and volunteering and they all walk out at the end of every day believing in themselves which, in turn, helps one’s recovery and moving forward.”
The will to work along with a positive employer such as Marg equals success on every level. I owe a big thank you to Giving it a Second Chance for giving DVJS the chance to work collaboratively with them, changing the lives of those less fortunate,” Andy said.
The next big goal for the op shop is raising money for a small removal van to deliver their furniture for customers.
“We’ve got a donation well near the door because we are trying to raise money to buy a van or a small truck, so we can deliver furniture. We want to be able to do free deliveries for the elderly, and keep delivery prices really low for customers,” Marg said.
Giving it a Second Chance is always looking for donations and welcomes friendly new faces in their store. Head down to see all the good work being done and score yourself some op shop treasures.