Thrift store resumes accepting donations

Duane Hicks

Asking for
clean, quality
items only
After requesting last month that the community hold off on donations to the local Salvation Army’s thrift store, Capts. Angel Sandoval-Silva and Marlene Sandoval are welcoming the public to give clothes and household items once again.
But while the two-week break gave thrift store staff time to get the inventory under control, and get rid of much of the garbage some people tried to pass off as donations, both are pleading with the public only to donate items in good condition in future.
“We want to clarify to the community that the Salvation Army is a non-profit organization that supports the less fortunate in our community,” said Capt. Sandoval-Silva.
“We are thankful for the good support from the people who believe in the work that we do in our community,” he noted. “We expect to continue to help those in need.
“Donations to the thrift store are welcome, but we expect those donations to be in good condition and clean,” Capt. Sandoval-Silva stressed, adding it is difficult to deal with a flood of donations which are leftovers from rummage sales and in such poor condition that it’s considered garbage.
“We plead with the community to consider us,” echoed Capt. Sandoval, adding staff do not have the time nor energy to sort through what’s acceptable to re-sell and what isn’t.
She clarified the request last month to halt donations was not because the thrift store had too many “good things,” but because they had too much which either hadn’t been sorted through or was deemed “recycling” (clothes the thrift store can’t sell are shipped off to Toronto to be “recycled,” or shredded, courtesy of local trucking company Taylor International).
“We weren’t overwhelmed with donations, we were overwhelmed with garbage,” Capt. Sandoval explained.
“It was a waste of time, energy, and resources.”
Capt. Sandoval-Silva encouraged donors to give clean clothes, adding the Salvation Army does not have the laundry facilities to put everything they get through the wash before preparing it for sale.
He noted donors need to keep in mind that the items they donate are being re-sold, and an easy way to determine whether something is fit to be donated and re-sold is to seriously ask yourself whether you feel someone else would truly want that item.
“We are accepting donations, but we encourage people to consider us and to bring what is good for others to reuse,” reiterated Capt. Sandoval.
She stressed the public needs to realize the Salvation Army doesn’t profit from the thrift store, and all of the money is used for family service and programs, like the food bank and children’s hygiene and breakfast programs, or to pay employees and operational costs.
The captains also are asking donors to bring items to the thrift store during business hours (it is open weekdays from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
If donors cannot do this, they are asked to leave their donations in a shed located at the back of the Citadel, although this shed is really intended for donors who do not make it into town often and only may be able come by the Citadel after hours.
But the captains do not want people to take advantage of this and sort through other people’s donations, taking for free whatever they want (this has happened in the past).
As well, people should not dump off garbage there or in the Citadel’s dumpster, warned Capt. Sandoval-Silva, who added the Salvation Army has security cameras watching the property.
He added the prices of items in the local thrift store are affordable. In fact, he has compared them to the Salvation Army thrift store prices in Kenora and Thunder Bay, and found them to be lower than those two.
Capt. Sandoval said she also feels the prices are reasonable for quality clothes. For example, a pair of nearly new shorts might cost $3-$4 while a good-quality jacket would go for $10 or less.
She noted that if a customer absolutely cannot afford clothing, they can talk to either of the captains and work something out, adding they have given out clothing vouchers in the past.
“We are accountable for what we receive, and we are accountable for what we give to those in need,” she stressed.
The captains both said that if anyone has questions, concerns, or ideas about how to do things better at the thrift store, they can come talk to them.
“We’ll gladly share with them,” Capt. Sandoval remarked. “We’re doing our best for the community, to help those that really need it.”
They also said volunteers are welcome to help out at the thrift store.
Thanksgiving appeal
In related news, Capt. Sandoval-Silva is encouraging the public to donate to the Salvation Army’s “Harvest of Hope 2010.”
Last month, the Salvation Army sent out letters to district residents, businesses, and schools, asking them to donate food and cash this Thanksgiving.
They welcome a gift of $25, $50, $100, or whatever people feel they can give.
Donations can be sent to the Salvation Army, 316 Victoria Ave., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 2C2.
Or donors can make a short visit to the ministry, where they will be glad to accept gifts to the less fortunate.
As well, everyone is welcome to attend the Thanksgiving dinner at the Salvation Army Citadel this Friday (Oct. 8) from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Meals will be on a first-come, first-served basis.