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A queue formed at the door of the St Vincent de Paul shop in King Edward St yesterday for the beginning of Free Week, which will continue until Friday.
After what was an "awful" year for many people due to the impacts of Covid-19, the timing for the event was right, St Vincent de Paul centre and pastoral co-ordinator Sarah Strang said.
There was no limit to the amount of clothing, shoes, bedding, crockery, bric-a-brac, children’s books and toys each person could take — most of which were good-quality items.
A call was made to Catholic primary schools in Dunedin to have a clean-out over the school holidays and those items were collected for the shop last week, Ms Strang said.
"Some of the things people have donated have been amazing — brand new things."
Free Week was a way for the shop to give back to a community that had given so generously to it, she said.
"The shop was overwhelmed with generosity over lockdown," she said.
Some happy shoppers left with a bag of free items, and others stopped by just for a chat with the volunteer staff.
Ms Forbes said everything in the shop was usually $1 or under, which did not allow the shop to make a profit, and the sale of donated items covered only rent and power costs.
Shop volunteers often gave goods away for free to people who could not afford them.