Books with a heart are helping many in our local community

Gloucester Charities has a new management committee. Photo Anne Keen
Gloucester Charities has a new management committee. Photo Anne Keen

The last financial year has been tough for many different reasons for so many people. Throughout all the testing times Gloucester Charities has been here helping people with emergency relief.

From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, Gloucester Charities has helped over 150 people and businesses on more than 500 instances, totalling in excess of $50,000. This support included continued COVID relief, Christmas gift vouchers, flood relief as well as regular emergency relief. That total dollar value represents a whole lot of book sales!

"We are all about making a positive difference in our community. COVID has meant we have had to interrupt our emergency assistance distribution, but have continued to help where and when we can. Our guidelines are that people can be given assistance every three months, but if it is an emergency they can return before then. We do not give cash," spokesperson Deborah Brooks said.

Gloucester Charities also has a new management committee following the recent annual general meeting. Ronda Teece has retired as president and Helen Parsons has retired as secretary, both after many years of dedicated service and both remain committee members. The new committee positions are: John Pelletier as president, Leonie Benson as vice president, Jeanette Murray as secretary, John Cullum as treasurer, Deborah Brooks as publicity officer, and Annemie Pelletier as a committee member.

"We are grateful to Ronda Teece for serving as our president since 2011 and I am humbled to be taking over the reins," John said. "We also thank Helen Parsons for being secretary for many years."

Gloucester Charities has been busy. The roof of the Scout Hall has been repaired, volunteers replaced the interior roof in one of the storage rooms which will hopefully stop moisture build up - books and moisture are not a good mix. Books have been donated to Mirrabooka Aged Care, Stroud Community Lodge, Taree Community Child Care, Stroud Community Day care, Gloucester Presbyterian Child Care, as well as a Walgett school who lost their books in floods. They have supported local Food with Friends and more.

Last Christmas, St Joseph's school organised a toy and non-perishable food appeal and donated the goods through Gloucester Charities. Gloucester Pharmacy kindly donated "care bags" which are available to clients who need to travel. When Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Centre was closed over Christmas, Gloucester Charities collected donated food from Woolworths, which was also made available to clients.

The book sale Facebook page has taken off leaps and bounds and now has 623 followers with items are being regularly posted to customers across Australia.

"In the last financial year we are grateful to all donors including Gloucester Rural Supplies, Gloucester Commonwealth Bank, IGA and Gloucester Pharmacy for their donations," Deborah said. "We do not get any government grants so these donations are indeed a blessing. Everything in the Old Scout Hall has been donated, and we are grateful to people for giving us their unwanted books. Everyone involved with Gloucester Charities is a volunteer and we thank you all. We would not be able to do this without the support of MidCoast Council who allow us the use of the Scout Hall so a big thank you to them," she said.

Trading hours at the Gloucester Charities Book Sale are Monday through to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and Sunday from 11am to 2pm.