Thrift store puts hold on donations

Duane Hicks

Faced with an overwhelming amount of donated goods, the local Salvation Army thrift store is turning away donations of clothes, toys, and other household items until further notice.
Capt. Marlene Sandoval said yesterday the thrift store always has welcomed and appreciated donations, which, in turn, are sold at a reasonable price to generate revenue for the local Salvation Army programs.
The problem now is that the store is overflowing with bags and bags of donations, which have accumulated much faster than staff can possibly sort through and ready the items for sale.
During a tour of the store yesterday, Capt. Sandoval said it has reached a point where every single room on the lower level of the Salvation Army Citadel is full of items, many of which are still in bags.
Staff barely have room to move to sort through the items or put them out for customers to buy. Even the fitting room there is now being used to store bags of clothes.
“This is crazy,” said Capt. Sandoval. “We need more room.”
“It’s overwhelming,” echoed thrift store staffer Val Carrier, adding she, Gail Selman, and others try to organize stock and present it for sale, just like any other store, but the massive amount of goods makes it difficult to do.
This surplus of donated items also is taking up three storage sheds located behind the Citadel.
The problem has been compounded by the fact too many people have been dropping off boxes and bags of items at all times of day, regardless of the weather.
This has amounted to staff coming in Monday morning and seeing rows of “donations” on the front lawn or at the back door.
Many times, these items get wet and otherwise ruined because they’ve been left to suffer the elements.
On top of that, Capt. Sandoval estimated 40 percent of the donated items are broken, dirty, soiled, and otherwise useless to the thrift store—in other words, people are getting rid of their garbage.
The Salvation Army then has to throw away that same junk at their expense.
For example, the garbage bin behind the Citadel was emptied first thing yesterday morning. Then after volunteers cleaned up useless items people had dropped off the day before, it was full again.
Capt. Sandoval lamented that they’ve been having to pay to get their garbage bin emptied several times a week, instead of just once.
She added the public should be aware the Citadel has
security cameras, and they know who’s throwing what away.
Capt. Sandoval stressed the Salvation Army truly appreciates all of the donations the public has made to the thrift store, as everything sold there helps support local programs like the food bank.
“We thank everyone who donates to us at the Salvation Army,” she remarked. “Our mission is to help those in need.
“We appreciate all the help that we receive from the community. Everything we receive from the community helps us help those in need.”
But the Salvation Army now is asking for people to hold off on donating items to be sold at the thrift store until further notice.
This will give staff time to catch up and sort through stock, organize the store, and improve the shopping experience for everyone.
Once the situation gets under control again, donations can resume.
“Help us help you,” Capt. Sandoval pleaded.
Both Capt. Sandoval and Carrier encouraged the public to drop by the store and shop, adding people from every walk of life are welcome to do so.
The proceeds from sales go to support the Salvation Army’s work in the community.
The thrift store is open from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with the last Friday of every month featuring 50 percent off everything.