Ex-manager still supports charity

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THE volunteer manager of Invercargill’s Save the Children shop says she will continue to support the international charity, despite the shop’s closure last week.
Jenny Keen, who ran the Windsor store for six years, plans to sell items at markets and craft fairs and organise occasional fundraisers.
‘‘It’s for the children, isn’t it.’’
The shop operated for 42 years, but in August, the board of Save the Children New Zealand made the decision to close 15 of the 16 shops nationwide because of declining profits.
Mrs Keen said she and her team of about 12 volunteers were initially ‘‘up in arms’’ at the decision, especially as the shop did not cost Save the Children any money. The building is owned by the Invercargill Licensing Trust and occupied effec› tively rent›free because the trust gave the organisation an annual grant which was then repaid as rent.
However, she said she could understand why the decision was made.
‘‘It’s the online shopping, they said… I had noticed our takings had been down considerably over the past two years. It’s been good, but it’s the end of an era.’’
Severing the link entirely with Save the Children would have been difficult, Mrs Keen said, as three generations of her family had beeninvolved over the past 27 years.
Her mother Lesley Johnston, who died six years ago, began selling items from her home and organising stock for a team of about 12 who sold door›to›door all over South› land. Later she became shop mana› ger.
‘‘She just had a liking for children and it was an interest for her. In those days they used to do a lot of fundraising events too.’’
Mrs Keen joined her mother about 20 years ago, and her sister, Diana Tait, began volunteering about 15 years ago. Mrs Tait’s daughters Tania Johnston and Nicola Milne and her own daughter Kylie Mahia had also been volun› teers.
An afternoon tea was held before Christmas to thank the volunteers, Mrs Keen said.

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