By Olivia Arcaro
When I was in high school, I would ditch my homework to haunt my local Vinnies, scouring the colour-coded racks for a t-shirt with a cool graphic or the earrings that would complete an outfit, and exchanging anecdotes with the kind and blessedly candid staff.
Now that I’m in Uni, I am still an ardent op-shopper, devoting Sundays to Savers and enlisting friends on trips to well-reviewed places. But Vinnies Newport is special to me: it radiates a kind of unfussy goodwill particular to the West. Perhaps it was inevitable that, once lockdown restrictions relaxed last year, I started volunteering there.
Volunteering at Vinnies is simple, surprisingly stimulating work—sorting and pricing donations (I recommend volunteering with a friend so you can open items together in the backroom), manning the checkout, ensuring the store stays eclectic and full and neat. While I understand being reluctant to work for free, if you can spare even one hour per fortnight—in my case, time that would otherwise be spent halfheartedly scrolling Instagram in lieu of starting a uni assignment (old habits die hard!)—the Vinnies team will treat you to Arnott’s biscuits and good conversation.
Vinnies Newport is, too, worthy of our hard-earned cash—it’s no wonder that the place tends to be packed. The bookshelves are replete with popular titles; the knitwear bin almost always offers something both stylish and warm. The kids’ section burgeons with pristine toys; the dress rack features formalwear with the tags still on.
It is rewarding—more so than I anticipated—to be ensconced in the Vinnies community, aiding the success of a treasured staple of Newport.