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By Kyra Gillespie

The Pakenham Opportunity Shop distributed $90,000 to not-for-profit organisations within Cardinia Shire at their 2017 Annual General Meeting.
The op shop commenced operation in Pakenham in 1959 and since then has been managed and staffed entirely by volunteers.
“I love volunteering for the Pakenham Op Shop. The thing is, when you treat your volunteers well, they want to come back again the next year and help out. And that’s exactly what I do,” op shop volunteer Mary said.
Among the many recipients was the Pakenham SES, which was given $7000 towards a replacement primary rescue truck.
“Our current truck is very old and has been put together with different bits and pieces over the years.
“The new truck will be so important in order for us to get out the door quickly in the event of an emergency.
“We travel from the Dandenong Ranges as far out as Garfield and Westernport, doing hundreds of kilometres a day.
“So a good truck is crucial to enable us to do our job properly. The cheque is very pleasing to us,” said Jeanine and Leesa from the Pakenham SES Unit.
Jeanine and Leesa also stressed that the use of mobile phones while driving was one of the biggest contributors to accidents that the SES attended on today’s roads.
Volunteer firefighter Roh from the Officer Fire Brigade was also blown away by the generosity of the op shop.
“The funds donated to us will be used to buy new gas detectors. Our old ones don’t hold their charge so once we get to a job they are already flat.
“Having new detectors will make it much safer for our jobs and the scenes we are dealing with.
“Officer is rapidly developing and yet the government still only sees us as a small rural branch, only giving us about $1000 a year. It’s just not enough,” Roh said.
“If it wasn’t for the hard work of the ladies at the op shop, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We rely on their funds so much.”

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