A COWWARR resident has found a way to give back to society by offering free dry-cleaning and sanitisation of donated blankets to Latrobe Valley families assisted by the Salvation Army.
Last week, Traralgon Dry Cleaners owner Matthew Stephenson, together with Salvation Army Traralgon church Envoy Graeme Bright launched the initiative in town.
New receptacles have been set up outside the Church Street business for donors to drop off unwanted fabric blankets as they begin their spring-cleaning activities.
“Blankets are a necessity, and as people start spring-cleaning and getting rid of old things, they can help the Salvos instead of having the blankets sit in wardrobes or worse, in landfills,” Mr Stephenson said.
“I thought because we had the infrastructure to do something like this, and because a lot of people are struggling financially in the Valley, this is a way of giving back to the community.
“We hope to raise awareness about this unique service, and get more usable blankets; we’re a locally-owned business with local staff taking the opportunity to help others.”
The Traralgon Dry Cleaners will clean, sanitise, and wrap up donated blankets in plastic, ready for sale in Salvos stores, immediate use, or for emergencies.
According to Envoy Bright, prior to this initiative, donated blankets were not cleaned.
“We are depleted of blankets after the (June) floods and that has not been replaced yet,” Envoy Bright said.
“The blankets will be used for the whole of the Valley by the Salvos’ welfare and disaster relief.”
He said the Salvation Army was “too pleased” to work with Mr Stephenson, who mooted the proposal.
“This is the first initiative of its kind that I’ve heard of,” Envoy Bright said, adding the Salvos needed “hundreds” of blankets.
The initiative, which has been two months in the making, will see the receptacles or bins set up outside the Traralgon Dry Cleaners, as well as Best Dry Cleaners in Leongatha, which is also co-owned by Mr Stephenson.
“I reckon it’s great that a business is giving back to the community; cash can assist, but material aid is just as good,” Envoy Bright said.
“If people can donate their unwanted, usable blankets, that relieves the call on cash, which can then be used for bills and food.”
When asked what types of blankets were preferred, Envoy Bright said material or fabric blankets and doonas were preferred over crocheted, knitted and woolen blankets as they could withstand the dry-cleaning process better.
For more information about the blanket donations, phone Envoy Graeme Bright at Salvation Army Traralgon on 5174 0812.