WITH record numbers of people turning to charities during the COVID-19 crisis, the loss of revenue from opportunity shops only compounded the problem.
Having closed in late March, many Border op shops have gradually reopened recently with new safety measures in place.
The Salvation Army is bracing itself for dramatic increases in the number of people seeking help for financial hardship, homelessness and domestic violence.
The Salvation Army public relations manager for Victoria Major Bruce Harmer said demand for emergency relief had escalated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have seen a very large increase in demand for our services and we believe it's only the tip of the iceberg of a social and economic crisis," he said.
"As JobKeeper and JobSeeker tapers off we expect the crisis to become far worse as fewer people are able to support themselves.
"We are only now waking up to the emotional impact of COVID-19."
Major Harmer said the return of opportunity shops was timely.
"Just when we needed the additional financial support, the closure of the stores left a huge economic vacuum," Major Harmer said.
As with all newly reopened Salvos Stores, Wangaratta and Wodonga were fitted with protective shields, a sanitisation station and social distancing reminders.
People can donate items to the Wodonga store, Monday to Saturday.
IN OTHER COMMUNITY NEWS:
Lifeline Albury-Wodonga chief executive Matt Burke said the Albury and Wodonga stores had reopened with reduced operating hours over recent weeks.
Having closed both stores in late March due to the COVID-19 crisis, Mr Burke said they began operating again in early June.
"We got a lot of work done in the Lifeline shops when we were closed so we've hit the ground running," he said.
"We have social distancing rules in place to keep both staff and customers safe."
Mr Burke said they had returned their donation bins in Albury, Wodonga, Lavington and Thurgoona.
He said they didn't accept electrical goods or bedding among donations.
"It costs us to take them to the tip so we ask that people refrain from donating them," Mr Burke said.
"We welcome anyone who wants to support us financially because our services are under pressure.
"The Lifeline crisis line (13 11 14) is still experiencing record demand."
Lifeline Albury opens 10am to 3pm weekdays and 10am to 1pm Saturday while the Wodonga store opens 10am to 2pm weekdays.
Vinnies Albury is now accepting donations of clothing and bric-a-brac only.
Its store opens 9am to 4.45pm weekdays and 9am to 4.30pm Saturday.
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