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‘Chatterbox’ Madison serving God in the heart of Australia

Madison Clutterbuck says moving to Alice Springs “felt like another country” but has found her place working at the local Thrift Shop.

Madison Clutterbuck is the warehouse assistant for Alice Springs Corps Thrift Shop, the largest second-hand store in the Central Australian town. The 21-year-old found herself connecting with her new community after COVID brought unlikely opportunity and a rewarding path.

What do you do with the Salvos? What is your role?

My paid job with The Salvation Army is at our Thrift Shop as a warehouse assistant here in Alice Springs. I do pick-ups and deliveries and sort everything that comes through. I am in charge of telling volunteers what to hang in the shop. This is my fourth year here after moving over from Tamworth. My parents have been officers, and I’ve been going on the journey with them. I never thought I’d work with the Salvos. I also volunteer many more hours assisting my corps officers.

Why did you first get involved with the Thrift Shop?

I graduated in 2019, and then we drove across to the NT at the beginning of 2020. It was a big move ... it felt like another country with people from different cultures and backgrounds. There are the local Indigenous communities obviously but also lots of Americans who work here. I started helping after everything changed when COVID hit. The shop manager went back to New Zealand, and so I volunteered then started working there. I thought I was going to work in disability support, but the work here was great.

The Salvation Army Thrift Shop in Alice Springs.

What impact does the shop have on the community?

Our shop is the biggest op shop in town. The impact is big. People love coming in and shopping, and we have conversations with people. One particular lady comes in with two grandkids, and we know everything about that family. The regulars who come in are also often the same people in our church services. Everyone comes to us, and we can help direct them, connect with people and tell them which services to use. You can also tell when things are tight for people and find ways to help them.

What impact does this work have on you? Why is it valuable?

I got involved due to wanting to be a person who showed the love of Jesus by helping and serving others in a safe environment. Every day I’m on the counter, I say “Hi” and ask them what they’re doing. It’s about communication, not just asking people for them for their money. It’s about talking. I’m a chatterbox. I’ll talk to anyone that listens. I feel like a hairdresser sometimes! People in the street know me through the op shop and say hello. It’s about making sure everyone feels safe and feels welcomed to come in. It’s making sure everyone feels valued by getting to know people.


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