Post by Gareth Hart.
How many times have you dropped a 5 cent piece on the footpath and just thought “oh well, it doesn’t matter”, or walked past a 5 cent piece at a train station and thought “I’m not bothering to pick that up”?
Well, now there’s a very good reason to do so. Welcome to a world where 5 cents can make a big difference.
‘Tucker at the Tin Shed’ is a program that operates out of the Belgrave Tin Shed, providing food and refreshment for ‘those who need food’, predominantly the homeless and disadvantaged.
Amongst other sources, one of the ways this program is funded is through a donation tin at the Tecoma PWP op shop. Customers visiting the op shop are encouraged (with a certain stern mirth!) to donate 5 cents into a donation tin every time they purchase something.
Op Shop volunteer ‘Just Jan’ is a bit of a leader in the program, who can regularly be heard saying to customers “oh, those shoes? They will be four dollars and five cents please”. New customers tend to take a moment to register the 5 cent increase in the advertised price, and regular PWP op shoppers take a moment to have a giggle and share a smile with Just Jan.
As I stand there talking with Jan about the project, a first timer comes to the counter to buy a trinket. “That will be one dollar and five cents” cites Jan. After a quick chat about the program, the customer decides to donate a one-dollar coin to the tin. When you think about it, this is a 1000 percent increase on the suggested donation – (cue marketing gurus around the world salivating at this figure).
In Jan’s own words “It’s not my fault if people fold up a five dollar note and put it in, instead of a five cent coin!”
It has become such a little ritual for shoppers that Jan tells me a lot of people walk in the shop and donate their 5 cent coin before they even begin looking around for treasures.
‘Tucker at the Tin Shed’ has been operating for over 7 years now with PWP donations beginning this year. Janette van Santen, ‘Tucker at the Tin Shed’ coordinator (not to be confused with Just Jan or PWP) estimates that PWP donates around $50 through their collections on a regular basis. When you think about it, that’s 1000 five cent coins. Over this time, the program has helped hundreds and hundreds of people with free food, tea and coffee. The program runs on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month, and serves anywhere between 20 and 40+ meals each night. For more information on the program contact Jan van Santen on 0404 041 402.
The next time your pocket is feeling heavy from those burdening, pesky little silver coins, pop into the PWP op shop, have a chat with Just Jan, and make a difference with 5 cents.
The Tecoma PWP Op shop is located in Sandells Rd, underneath the Salvos store.