IF you walk into an op shop in Port Macquarie you are sure to be greeted with smiling faces and a festive attitude.
While this time of the year is a joyful one for many, it is also a sad and frustrating time for some members of the Hastings community.
Op shops play a vital role at this time of the year, when those less fortunate are desperate to make Christmas day as special as possible for their family.
Carol O’Brien, general manager of Willing and Able, said while everybody around you is happy, others don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
“Let alone know how they’ll get presents for the children,” she said.
“We try and make it as affordable as possible. You can always come and get a bargain, and we can come down a bit if you’re struggling.
“We can also give clothing and beds and that sort of thing to people who really need it, especially at this time of the year.”
Carol said people want toys, trees and decorations leading into Christmas.
“We see more families wanting those types of things to make it a happier time for them. There are a lot of people doing it hard,” she said.
Roger Munro is the manager of the Hope Shop in Port Macquarie and agreed that a lot of people are venturing into the store for Christmas treats and food.
“But we have had a lot of donations of toys and things like that,” he said.
“A lot of them are new toys too. It shows the community is so generous. We have no government funding and are entirely supported by the community, so it’s great to see.”
The Hope Shop feed the homeless every Thursday and that will continue right through Christmas.
“Leading up to Christmas we will have hampers here for people who really need them,” Roger said.
“We will be supplying people with meat vouchers and vouchers to Woolworths as well.”