Getting ready for the school year has kicked off with Bundaberg’s annual School Savvy pop-up shop, which is open to the community this week.
Offering second-hand uniforms and essential booklist stationery at extremely low cost, families struggling to cope with the expense of back-to-school items are welcome to purchase what they need.
CatholicCare Health and Wellbeing Southern Region general manager Shari Jackson said more than 200 community members walked through the doors within hours of the opening on Monday morning.
“The turn out this morning was over 200 people in the first two hours,” she said.
“It’s great to be able to give a ‘hand up’ to the community like this, but obviously you have to reflect on the fact that there is still a clear need for programs like School Savvy in our region.”
Shari said they had expected more families to use the initiative this year.
“With the cost-of-living increases, coming in tandem with the housing and rental crisis, it’s definitely looking to be driving increasing numbers through the doors based on this morning’s attendance,” she said.
“We check off and cover most of the essential book list stationery supplies, so while we are not a one stop shop, residents can get a wide selection of items to cover a lot of the lists.
“School uniforms are donated by members of the community, and we have wide selection of these covering more than 20 local schools in the region.”
She said all School Savvy CQ pop-up shops strive to promote inclusiveness by not applying eligibility criteria.
“Our shops operate on an honesty policy, where we ask that attendees simply respect the program as one that supports people who are struggling financially,” Shari said.
“In the spirit of School Savvy, we ask that people always consider others and take only what they need.
“With the costs of everyday living steadily increasing each year, School Savvy CQ is proud to offer an alternative option to children starting their school year without the resources they so desperately need.
“Access to education is a fundamental human right.”
For those seeking to help other families and students in need before the start of the school, Shari said it was not too late to donate.
“Our shop in Bundaberg is open all week, and we’ll be in Gin Gin on Tuesday and Childers on Thursday.
“Please bring any donations of uniforms into your local shop.
“They can also be dropped into our CatholicCare office on Woongarra Street all year round, as well as our donation bins in Hinkler and Stockland shopping malls.”
In addition to the uniforms and stationery supplies, Shari said free basic haircuts were also proving very popular again this year, as she said there was a “steady stream of students getting a good chop to start the school year.”
Bundaberg’s School Savvy pop-up shop will operate until Friday at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct exhibition room off the Main Pavilion, at Douglas Lane.
Gin Gin School Savvy Pop-up Shop will be open at Gin Gin State School, 13 May Street, on Tuesday from 9 am to 3 pm, and at Childers on Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm at Isis State High School Sports Stadium, 3 Ridgway Street, Childers.
For more information check out the Facebook page.
- Other news: Are you the next volunteer ambassador?