Good Samaritan Industries (GSI) is one of my favourite parts of the Uniting Church.
I’ve grown up shopping at Good Sammy stores, not only for the bargain but because my mum always taught us to be thoughtful about what we were buying, and that re-using second-hand clothes was better than piling them up in landfill.
For some reason, I thought buying second-hand was just another one of our family quirks and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I realised other people thought op-shopping was cool too.
As a teenager, I remember lying to a new friend about where I’d bought a top from. She liked it and I was embarrassed to tell her that it was second-hand, so I told her my mum had bought it for me new. Somehow, I eventually got caught out in that lie, and my friend couldn’t believe I’d ever be embarrassed about op-shopping. She also loved it – and we’re still friends to this day.
These days, the majority of my wardrobe is second-hand and I can guarantee you it doesn’t embarrass me. Whenever I’m complimented on my outfit, I proudly exclaim: ‘it’s from the op-shop!’
Those who know me well, know this is a common response.
I especially love visiting GSI headquarters in Canning Vale, and I’ve been lucky enough in my role to have toured their warehouse more than once. After a recent visit to their office for this edition’s profile story, I promised my son we’re taking a day trip together to run wild in GSI’s Mega Barn – a huge warehouse of second-hand items sold by the kilo.
I also grew up with a close uncle who had Down syndrome. Good Samaritan Industries exists to provide employment opportunities for people living with disability, and while my uncle worked elsewhere, he did take a lot of pride in his work and loved telling me about his job. So I often think of him when I think of GSI.
This year, GSI is celebrating its 60th anniversary and we’ve shared just a snippet of their journey with you. If you want to find out more, you can read their new book, A Chance not Charity: A history of the first 35 years of Good Samaritan Industries, by Di Rook. For more info contact GSI on 9463 0500. Our cover this edition features Bernice Moorhouse, the first employee of GSI. Bernice is one of GSI’s longest serving employees, working with the organisation from 1959 to 2012, and is pictured in the Canning Vale warehouse in 2009.
Congratulations to all who’ve been involved with Good Samaritan Industries; for the vision all those years ago and for the growth into one of WAs well loved community agencies.
Heather Dowling, Editor, Revive Magazine