Meet Con, one of our incredible supporters
Con Apostolopoulos is a strong believer in social justice, and his volunteer position at the Oxfam second-hand bookshop in Adelaide allows him to put these beliefs into practice. Volunteering gives Con the opportunity to connect with people who sometimes might not talk to anyone else all week.
“Some [people] come in here, this is the only social contact they have with people with a common interest — books — and they come here, they talk. If I go out the back and get a biscuit, I’ll give them one as well, then they start telling me jokes. So, there’s that idea of connecting with the regulars.
“We were economic refugees ... So, I can empathise with people who have struggled for some sort of sense of social justice.”
This year, Con celebrated a decade of volunteering at the shop. “I’ve been here since the beginning of about 2013. It’s getting onto 10 years. I should be getting a certificate of something … long service leave. I’m kidding!” he said.
The bookshop has evolved over many years, having started life as a series of second-hand book sales at church halls or street stalls in the 1960s and 1970s, when Oxfam was known as Community Aid Abroad.
Today, at its permanent home in Hutt Street on the city’s eastern fringe, the shop stocks over 20,000 titles, which are available online as well as in-store. As the only Oxfam bookshop in Australia, it is staffed solely by volunteers and, since 1986, has raised almost $2.59 million!
Con remembers the interesting way he was introduced to the shop. “I was going out with a beautiful lady and her mother used to volunteer here, and their family was one of the greenest families that I knew. She said, ‘Why don’t you go and volunteer at the Oxfam bookshop, I think you’d like it.’ And I thought, ‘What a good idea.’ And so, I did.”
Con loves getting to know the people who come through the shop each week, including some who are going through hard times.
“We trust the buyers, many of whom select books, are low on money, and come back another time to pay.”