Pay It Forward Community Shed volunteers left 'devastated' theft

BAD TIMING: Pay It Forward Community Shed volunteers Nathan Hargraves, Greg Ferguson, Theresa Hargraves and Karlie Irwin ahead of Saturday's garage sale. PHOTO: Jude Keogh

BAD TIMING: Pay It Forward Community Shed volunteers Nathan Hargraves, Greg Ferguson, Theresa Hargraves and Karlie Irwin ahead of Saturday's garage sale. PHOTO: Jude Keogh

PAY It Forward Community Shed volunteers have been left “heartbroken” following the theft of all three of the charity’s whipper snippers.

The commercial-grade whipper snippers, which retail at about $350 each, are used as a part of a program to help people living in low socio-economic communities maintain their yards.

The program was in high demand in November with 80 properties serviced.

The theft comes ahead of the charity’s garage sale on Saturday. Instead of using the proceeds for the upkeep of the charity, funds will now be used to replace the whipper snippers.

Pay It Forward founder Karlie Irwin said the property beautification program reduced “high levels of stress” for tenants. “It’s so important because it’s designed to reduce the risk of eviction and homelessness for people in low socioeconomic communities,” Ms Irwin said. “They simply can’t afford it, they don’t have the equipment so the program is of such benefit to the community to reduce that risk simply by being able to provide the resources.”

Ms Irwin said the service allowed people to take pride in their property, especially at Christmas time. “They feel proud and like they’re contributing by being able to do what everyone else can do,” she said.

“People who use the service have the opportunity to have their place look great at Christmas and have their family there.”

Ms Irwin said the theft came as a shock to volunteers. “I was heartbroken for the volunteers, the community and the people that work so hard day after day for free to ensure this program keeps going and the community can access it,” she said. “We’re all pretty devastated that someone would want to do that to us. It affects the overall feeling inside the charity, people feel disheartened.”

Ms Irwin asked the person responsible to return the items to the charity’s front door with “no questions asked”. “Consider the community, consider what they’re used for and consider the people they help,” she said.

The garage sale will be held at 83 Glenroi Avenue from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

Items will include clothing, shoes and bric-a-brac for $1. There will also be a pop-up shop items for $2.

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