A community lifeline for so many in the Kandos community now needs one of its own after the building it calls home was put on the market.
Standing proudly on a quiet street in Kandos, there is a shop that gives new life to old souls. It might seem far fetched, but every object they care for, some covered in more dust than others, feels alive.
Resting in an ornate cabinet, there are old rings and necklaces that hum with history. Some were warmly given to lovers, others discarded with heartbreak.
Well-worn books line the walls, and their deeply calming scent fills the store. Curious and inexplicable messages are scrawled on their dog-eared pages, there are mysteries within mysteries to be explored.
Hundreds of classical vinyl records and vintage cameras wait for collectors to find them.
And at the centre of it all are the tireless volunteers who ensure there is always space for more.
Speak to any local, and they will tell you the Kandos Community Charity Shop is the spirit of Kandos itself.
It's not like other opportunity shops, it is entirely volunteer run and the proceeds are directly distributed back into the community.
At risk of disappearing
Over the past eight years, the Charity Shop has donated nearly half a million dollars to local groups, but it is now in danger of disappearing, unless its volunteers can come up with $60,000 to purchase the building it resides in that is currently for sale.
Locals fear that without the Charity Shop, the Kandos community would be irreparably damaged.
"These ladies are astounding with the help they give. We've lost so many beautiful parts of the town but this is the mainstay, it's the hub and it keeps us together," Kandos High agriculture assistant Wendy Murphy said.
The volunteers have raised $90,000 over six years for a deposit to purchase the building, but Honorary President of The Community Charity Shop Inc. Ellen Riley said it is not enough.
"It's very urgent, the owner wants to sell, so we've probably only got weeks to make a difference," she said.
"To lose this shop from this community would be devastating, it would kill the shopping precinct and it would make the town very depressed."
Since the closure of the cement works in September 2011 and the nearby Charbon Mine which ceased underground operations in 2015, Kandos has lost a significant portion of its well-paid workforce, and relied on the Charity Shop as a lifeline, according to Ms Riley.
"Kandos has had to change and become a different kind of town, and in that transition time we've kept all the organisations running, the groups that the cement works used to support and sponsor, we've taken that mantle on," she said.
The Charity Shop has donated to just about every organisation in their area, from the Rylstone Hospital to the Clandulla Rural Fire Service to Kandos Rylstone Little Athletics.
Unique position causes headaches
Volunteers from the Kandos Community Charity Shop have so far raised just over $1000 of their $60,000 goal.
"In our town, we've got low-paid young families and the strata of older and retired pensioners," Ms Riley said.
"We really need support from outside to help us because we don't want to take any more money from our locals."
The Charity Shop has sought assistance from the Government, including MP Paul Toole and MP Andrew Gee.
But due to the unique nature of the charity, there are no grants available for the purpose of purchasing the building, which has left fundraising as their only option.
Federal Member for Calare MP Andrew Gee has stated the region is grateful to the Charity Shop.
"The Kandos Community Charity Shop does extraordinary work. The shops' committee and volunteers have the thanks and support of the entire region and I know all levels of Government are always actively looking for ways to support them," Mr Gee said.
A tourist attraction
The Charity Shop has become a drawcard for Kandos, and for years tourists have flocked from all over New South Wales to experience the thrill of looking for, and finding, hidden gems.
"We've been coming here for quite a few years, I just love it. It's a rambling treasure trove of fabulous things, I recently took home a wonderful old skateboard from the 1970s in mission brown colour, just brilliant," Kath Llewelyn said.
"This place is really precious, it's got a real good sense of community, and you're always made to feel welcome even if you're an out-of-towner," she said.
That warmth radiates through the shop as volunteers, or "Nanas" as they refer to themselves, bustle around and chat with locals and tourists.
"It's not like a supermarket, you can't stand at the checkout there and chat for half an hour. It's a community hub where people can talk and meet each other. Some people are very lonely and need that social outlet," volunteer Colleen Yates said.
There are few options for locals who want to shop or even buy essentials like furniture or even bed linen, without making the 120 kilometre round trip to Mudgee, according to Ms Riley.
"A lot of people don't have the money for fuel to go that distance, some of them don't even have a car and there's no public transport for us to get there. That's the value of this shop, it fills that niche."
The Nanas have said if they are unable to purchase the building, they hope the next buyer would let them stay on as tenants, but they still plan to fight to the end. They now must focus on doing anything they can to raise the money to make an offer on the building.
If you'd like to support or donate to the The Community Charity Shop fundraiser, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/the-community-charity-shop-kandos