Tony still has lots of good to give

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26th February 2018

By Jane Allan

Tony Kerstein, a young at heart 75-year-old volunteer at Goods for Good, tells us about the charity work that keeps him active and happy.


Tony has been volunteering at Goods for Goods since the 2014, but he has been working with founder Rosalind Bluestone since 2004. “Rosalind contacted me when the Goods for Good warehouse opened in Borehamwood, I was delighted to volunteer again,” said Tony.


Tony has volunteering in his veins, he also helps two days a week at a Jewish Care day centres, Tuesdays in Stamford Hill and Friday in Stepney. He’s also involved in his local Liberal Synagogue in East London where he runs a modern Hebrew course for adults.


So what gives Tony his passion to keep volunteering?


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“When I retired, I enjoyed it for the first few months, but after a while, I began to feel a little stir crazy. So, I decided to find volunteer projects that were close to my heart, and make myself useful.”


Leaving home early on the days he volunteers, and traveling in from Barkingside in Essex by train, Tony provides a helping hand at Goods for Good warehouse in Borehamwood once or twice a week, depending on his schedule and what goods have arrived that need sorting.


This is one of the main areas of support that people like Tony can help with, sorting and packing different high-quality second hand donations into either gender or age-specific bags, so they can be more easily distributed once they reach their destination. Donations also come in from the local community, and they take a lot of hands to make sure they are fit for purpose, then sorted, packed and labeled ready for shipping overseas or distribution to local homeless charities.


What has been the oddest thing you have seen donated?


“The funniest thing I came across was some inappropriate undies, which was sent in by a corporate donor, mixed in amongst a large donation of clothing. We made sure not to send them of course, this is why we need to sort through every bag, item and donation, they have to be fit for purpose, and of course not offensive. The people Goods for Good help, at home and overseas, need everyday clothing, things perhaps we take for granted in our everyday activity.”


What would a typical day be like at Goods for Good for you?


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“Firstly, have a coffee and make the other volunteers hot drinks as they come in, as I am often the first one in!  Help to sort and pack donated goods that have recently arrived, weighing each packed bag to ensure it is no more than 12kgs. If we have a packing session on a Wednesday, we go to a community lunch, which is hosted by another charity, Gratitude. We have a wonderful time and a tasty, hot, vegetarian lunch, with live music. Volunteering is a very social activity!


What could anyone reading this do to help, besides giving goods or cash donations?


“As mentioned, we always need plenty of hands to help with packing sessions, I can really recommend it. Especially this charity. It is a very fulfilling activity, you also get to socialise and have fun whilst doing it.” “There are also other ways to help, we have events and activities throughout the year, like our quiz night and fund-raising events. If you want to get involved or see what’s coming up, why not sign up for the newsletter, or drop one of the team an email if you have a free day to help us out, you will have fun and be helping a really good cause.” 


Would you like to volunteer a few hours a week like Tony?

Please get in touch with us, drop us an email or sign up for our newsletter to keep informed of upcoming activity.