Head of Moreland's 'best kept secret' (Media release)

Jackie Hill has been volunteering her time and energy to bettering the lives of her fellow Morelanders for more than 25 years.Jackie Hill has been volunteering her time and energy to bettering the lives of her fellow Morelanders for more than 25 years.

When she’s not running the Op Shop at St John’s Anglican Church, you’ll probably find her at the 4th Brunswick Scouts, or singing with the Brunswick Community Gospel Choir.

Volunteering, Jackie says, is in her blood: “My mother was a Girl Guide and Brownie leader and worked with Red Cross, and my father played in a brass band.

“I’m used to being around people who give their time and it just seemed natural to do the same.”

Jackie has been involved with St John’s Anglican Church in Brunswick West for nearly 30 years and has been head of its Op Shop operations since 2013.

“When I started attending St John’s, there was just a small Op Shop open on Friday afternoons, but since then a lot of people have been involved and it’s slowly grown into what it is today.

Now open three days a week, Jackie says the Op Shop is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets, although she wouldn’t mind at all if the secret got out.

“I had a young girl in this morning buying up big and she was excited by the low prices. We’re a proper Op Shop!” said Jackie.

The opportunity to meet new people plays a large part in what keeps her volunteering.

“People come in here every day and they become your friends. You give a smile and they’ll give one back. There is too much angst and unhappiness in the world. We’re a drop in the ocean, but if we all come together, something big can be made.”

Jackie and her husband moved to Brunswick in 1987 and have no desire to move anywhere else.

“Brunswick is a place that gets under your skin. We’re not afraid of colour here. There’s a lot of black elsewhere in Melbourne, but it’s colourful in Brunswick! There is a good sense of community.”

Jackie took home the Volunteer of the Year award at this year’s Moreland Awards, and says she encourages anyone thinking about volunteering to get out and into the community.

“Your time is not always your time [when it comes to volunteering]. It’s for other people as well, but I don’t see this as a challenge. Anyone can do it, you’ve just got to believe that you can.”

St John’s Anglican Church Op Shop is located at 494 Victoria Street, Brunswick West and is open 9 am to 1 pm Wednesday, 9.30 am to 3 pm Friday and 10 am to 4 pm Saturday.

Tuesday 25 October 2016