26 April 2023

Tomakin op shop hits $3 million milestone for charity

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
group of people with big cheque

The op shop volunteers join officials last week to celebrate Rally for Recovery’s achievement. Photo: Rally for Recovery – Tomakin/Facebook.

The team behind a Tomakin op shop has now raised $3 million for charity, but organisers aren’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.

Rally for Recovery president Ray Dickinson said the milestone was down to the hard work of the volunteers.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved – I get a hell of a lot of help from all of the volunteers,” Mr Dickinson said.

“They’re just a wonderful group of people.”

The group had raised money for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation to support ill children and their families.

“It just gives you a very nice, warm feeling when you know what you’re raising the funds for,” Mr Dickinson said.

Since its establishment, the group had also provided support for the Moruya Hospital, as well as homeless people, those suffering domestic violence, and those who faced hardship in the Black Summer bushfires and flooding in the region.

READ ALSO Emergency Services Medal recognises dedicated Bermagui Marine Rescue commander

The team gathered last week for a formal cheque handover with State Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland, Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips, Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Mathew Hatcher and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation CEO Kristina Keneally.

“We achieved the $3 million just before Christmas last year, but we’ve only just handed over the cheque to the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation,” Mr Dickinson said.

Rally for Recovery started as a car rally whereby the public could sponsor cars, with organisers eventually deciding to take on a different challenge with the op shop.

They accept donations of, and pick up, a range of secondhand items such as fridges, bedding, camping tools, lounges, books, bric-a-brac, records, televisions and washing machines.

Mr Dickinson said he had been confident the group would crack $3 million, but progress had been affected by recent wet weather, which meant they couldn’t open for two months.

The op shop is open two days a week and celebrated raising $2 million in 2019 from its sales.

“Our biggest issue between 2019 and now was the great deal of wet weather,” Mr Dickinson said.

After moving to the area, he joined Rally for Recovery and eventually rose through the ranks to become a committee member and, ultimately, president.

READ ALSO With a little help from Friends, Moruya RSL reaches out for community connections

“My wife, who used to work for the Salvos back in Canberra, joined them and in a fit of conscience, I joined with her,” he said.

Customers to the Rally for Recovery op shop come from far and wide, with Tomakin residents shopping alongside people from Sydney, Nowra and Narooma.

Rally for Recovery is staffed by about 40 volunteers, many of whom are long-term helpers.

“It’s a joy to work with them, and their efforts show just how much it means when we raise this amount of money,” Mr Dickinson said.

He said that in the almost 20 years since Rally for Recovery was launched, the community had embraced the initiative.

“It’s just become a bit of a household name – the village of Tomakin, while it is small, it just seems to be in the right spot,” he said.

“It is a community effort because all of the volunteers live either in or close by to Tomakin.”

Rally for Recovery is at 10 Ainslie Parade, Tomakin, and is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.