We received the following information from Flat River Outreach Ministries regarding their donation policy Treasures Thrift Shop.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amanda Haberlein
TREASURES THRIFT SHOP MAKES UPDATES TO DONATION POLICY
Treasures Thrift Shop, the place to go in Lowell for great deals on gently used items, is making changes to their donation policy including items accepted and Donation Room hours.
Treasures Thrift Shop helps fund the mission of Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM), but lately some of those funds have been diverted in order to address an increasing amount of items dropped off at the organization that are in no condition to re-sell.
“We live in an incredibly generous community that for twenty years has supported our mission of walking alongside our neighbors in need,” says Dawn Broene, Executive Director at FROM. “We appreciate all the support, but lately we have seen a large increase in donations that we are unable to sell. People are dropping off items that are moldy, stained, broken, missing pieces or covered in bugs or animal feces. Other times donations are left outside in the rain. If an item can’t be sold, we have to pay to dispose of it, which means those funds are taken away from programs.”
Volunteers, many who are retirees, sort all the items dropped off at the donation center to determine if something is able to be sold. Items deemed sellable are then sent to the individual departments to be priced. If an item can’t be sold it may end up in recycling or in the trash.
“Our volunteers do an excellent job sorting through the donations to make sure we are putting items in the store that still have a lot of life in them, but simply need a new home. Sometimes when these volunteers arrive at 7:00 a.m. they can’t even get in the door of our donation room because it’s blocked by furniture left outside or items pilled so high they can’t open the doors,” says Broene. “While this seems like a great problem to have, some of these items, unfortunately, have to be thrown away because we simply can’t sell them; and that comes at a cost. So far this year the amount we’ve spent in additional dumpster and removal fees is equivalent to providing a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for the 200 families that use our Food Pantry each month.”
In an effort to curb rising trash removal costs, FROM has enacted new donation rules, including no longer accepting fabric furniture, such as couches. The Donation Room will also close its doors at 8:00 p.m. and will be closed on Sundays. The agency is asking that people review their list of accepted items before donating and to not drop off donations after hours or outside.
“On one weekend we received half a dozen furniture items that we couldn’t sell because some were covered in mold and others were left outside in the rain. These large items require a special dumpster and some require an additional removal fee which takes resources away from supporting programs,” states Broene.
Proceeds from Treasures Thrift Shop provide about 40% of the funding for FROM programs like the Food Pantry, kid’s Summer Lunch program, employment services and more. FROM is hopeful that making changes to their donation policy will decrease the cost and help ensure those funds are going to help those living in the Lowell Area School District.
“We have reached out to other organizations and know this is not a problem unique to FROM, but we believe we live in a community that wants us to be good stewards of both our resources and our volunteer’s time. Right now this problem is putting additional strain on our volunteers who already go above and beyond and is diverting resources away from helping our neighbors,” says Broene. “We are asking people to look at our list of items we can and can’t accept and think before they donate ‘is this item something I would purchase in its current condition’. If it’s something that doesn’t follow our guidelines or isn’t in a condition to re-sell please consider other ways to dispose of it without putting that cost burden on FROM.”
The new Donation Room hours will go into effect on October 14, 2018 with donations being accepted Monday-Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and closed Sunday. A complete list of items accepted for donation can be found at www.fromlowell.org/thriftshopdonations and in the Donation Room.