What a difference a week makes.
In one week the Health Care Thrift Shop gets enough donations that it virtually buries its back room, prompting store volunteers to throw away massive mounds of the less saleable items to deal with the deluge.
But it’s a deluge of refuse in some cases, said Thrift Shop president and store manager Sharon Hansen. A lot of the items being dropped off at the back door every night and on the weekend should be destined for the dump, not a second hand store.
Hansen said the amount of items donated that cannot be sold because of their shoddy state is beginning to wear on the store’s pool of volunteers—mostly “older women and retired women, she said.
However, the thrift store staff still have to sort through the mountains of items to get to the ones that can be sold, she said.
“It’s mostly big items that are being dropped off that are concerning us,” she said. “We can’t lift those big items that people are dropping off, like furniture.
The store added in another day shift right now—to the two they already run—because they are never getting sorted through the donations and finding their way back to the end of the storage room wall.
Fortunately not all of the waste clothing items are going to waste disposal. A lot of the unused clothing items are picked up by Positive Apparel out of Nelson where it boxes them up and ships overseas for up-cycling into other products.
Hansen said the rule for donating is simple: If it was going to go to the dump in the first place, it should go to the dump, not the thrift store.
“We just want stuff that is not broken, or stained,” she said. “We’re looking for anything that is wearable, any toys that aren’t broken, good housewares and wearable children’s clothes.
“And no heavy stuff.”
The Health Care Thrift Shop donates money to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, as well as giving money to local community groups.
The store is open Wednesday and Friday, from 10:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Store volunteers sort items on Monday and Thursday.