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Donation bin treasures trashed

Martin van den Hemel   Oct-25-2017

The donation bins outside Richmond Family Place are regularly a mess magnet after donations are picked through by the needy and not-so-needy.

Photo by Anja Liem


Many Richmond organizations rely on the charity and generosity of locals to help those most in need.

But the continued ignorance and lack of consideration for others by some people has created a headache for Richmond Family Place. The non-profit operates a thrift store at 8660 Ash St. that offers a helping hand to refugee and low-income families, but operates during limited hours and on weekdays only.

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A donation bin outside invites people to drop off items after hours, but the bin has instead inadvertently become a mess magnet.

“It was bad when I started but it’s gotten worse,” said Darlene Hudson, thrift store co-ordinator, who joined the organization nine years ago. “It’s a huge mess.”

Hudson urges people who wish to donate items, to drop them off during regular business hours, or during the late afternoon or early evening on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays when Richmond Family Place is open.

Otherwise, the items are likely to be picked through by people who often wait on weekends for the items to arrive.

Anja Liem’s husband volunteers at Richmond Family Place and she has heard the frustration from volunteers who’ve had to deal with the aftermath of people who pick through the bags of donations and leave a pile of work in their wake.

“The usable donations are sold and with the proceeds they help a lot of people in need,” Liem said. “And the proceeds support programs that support the community.”

Liem understands that it may very well be people in need who are rummaging through the donations.

To these people, Liem requests that they open the bags and take what they need and put the rest back nicely.

“Don’t rip open the bags, damage the donations and scatter them all over the place. They do this to the clothing while it is wet outside and the clothes get soaked and cannot be sold anymore. Breakable items (glassware) get broken and leave the volunteers to clean up the broken glass.”

The thrift store, which sells clothing for men, women and children as well as books, jewelry, linen and small household items, generates 10 per cent of Richmond Family Place’s total revenue.

Neighbours and others who have witnessed the pillaging of the donations said some drive pricey cars and live in beautiful houses near Richmond Family Place.

Volunteers are also being put in harm’s way whenever they clean up and remove broken glass and broken items.


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