The Sallies shrug off garbage dumpers

By Brendan Manning

Dealing with dumped rubbish is just part and parcel of running a second-hand store that relies on donated goods, the Sallies say.

Nationally, Salvation Army stores have received mouldy clothes, broken electrical equipment and even full bags of household rubbish.

However, Salvation Army Lower North Island store consultant Gareth Marshall said the Masterton and Carterton stores were "very, very grateful" for the public's generosity.

"We just can't do what the Salvation Army does in the community without the funds raised in our stores," Mr Marshall said.

While rubbish dumping did occur on rare occasions, it was part and parcel of the business and no one should be discouraged from donating, he said.

The free pick-up service for donations was a good avenue for those who couldn't make it down to the store during business hours, Mr Marshall said.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Major Christina Tyson said junk left outside Salvation Army stores was a seasonal problem which peaked around Christmas.

Although $600,000 was spent last year disposing of rubbish, the cost was spread over 125 stores, meaning an average disposal cost of $4800, she said.

"It is the nature of what we've always had to do. We're not wanting to sound mean-spirited about it, we accept that it is a cost of doing business," Ms Tyson said. The stores had worked on their signage to ensure would-be donors knew it was better to drop off goods when the stores were open. "Then there's the security of knowing things will make it inside the store and they're not exposed to the elements," she said.

Salvation Army consultant Fraser Kearse said while there were varying levels of quality in the goods donated, most were usable. Goods that were not sellable in the family stores could be used for other means.

"We go through a recycling process and in terms of clothing that includes things like ragging, where that material is turned into rags that we can then sell," Kearse said.

Other clothes that weren't suitable for the stores were packed into bales and sent to poorer countries.

"Occasionally you might get an actual rubbish bag [filled with] someone's household refuse, but that's so few and far between," Mr Kearse said.

The amount of donations varied widely store-to-store, he said. While some donors knew what they were dropping off was of a very low quality, they were a minority. No one should be discouraged from donating goods. Mr Kearse said: "At the end of the day, without our donors, our ... stores wouldn't exist." APNZ

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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