Countless charitable donations are going to waste because people are dropping the items off after hours, local thrift store operators say.
“They’re dropping things off in the middle of the night or on Sundays when we’re closed, so we’re not getting them inside in time,” said Adriana Vani of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which operates stores across Sarnia-Lambton, including two in Sarnia.
Rainfall ruins many donated household items and leaves clothing soaked and unusable, she said.
“We need people to donate during store hours. We don’t like seeing things get tossed.”
St. Vincent de Paul stores on East and Vidal streets, as well as the Corunna location, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Petrolia store is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Forest, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We have tried to have donations delivered during business hours and discourage donors from leaving goods outside in off-hours. We have met with limited success,” said treasurer Greg Hogan.
“When donations are impacted by weather, and in some cases, by other people scrounging through donations in off-hours, there is a definite cost to the recipient in terms of lost use of the articles and disposal costs.”
Gokul Pradeep, production supervisor at Sarnia’s Mission Thrift store, said extra signage has been posted at the Murphy Road site to address the problem.
“People were leaving donations outside our donation hours and we had homeless coming through and going through our stuff, and it ended up going into garbage,” he said. “And if it’s left out in the weather, it’s ruined.”
Mission Thrift Store is closed Sunday and Monday, but open and accepting donations from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.