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Donation dumping becomes problem at Bay Area thrift stores

Bay Area

(KRON) – As people shelter in place across the Bay Area, many are taking their time to declutter and create donations for local thrift stores like Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul Society. 

However, those thrift stores have been deemed non-essential, meaning the donations are left dumped outside of the stores for hours or days on end, eventually having to be thrown out. 

“We don’t have staff there to take in any donations, so it can get rifled through by someone who sees it there, it can get rained on, which happened to some book donations the other day, animals can get to it, but end result, it becomes trash. we have to throw it all away,” said Claudia Ramirez, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa county. 

Ramirez says while their food pantries are still up and running, they have no employees manning the thrift stores. 

At the beginning of the shelter in place order, they had to lay off about 28 employees. 

Even with signs out front telling people not to leave their donations, many bags of clothes, books and food are being left outside. 

Ramirez says they’re relying on volunteers in different neighborhoods to let them know when they notice donations being dumped outside their doors, but they hope it will stop altogether. 

Not only is it a waste of what could be a proper donation, they then have to pay to dump the items. 

“They’ll all get dumped right now, because we have no knowledge of how they got there, how long they’ve been there, anytime its more than a couple hours we have to say no unfortunately and incur the dumping fee,” Ramirez said.

The same issue was found at Goodwill store locations across the East Bay as well. 

While the organizations don’t want to discourage people from donating altogether, they’re asking you to hold on to your items if you have the space. 

“If you’re in the organization mode and wanting to clean up. Then organize what you cleaned up, put it in a corner and have it all set to go, and as soon as our stores open, we’ll be happy to take the donation,” Ramirez said.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society food banks are still in operation.

The organization is encouraging people who want to help to donate monetarily if you have the means.

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