The Sicamous United Church Thrift Shop’s drop off area is frequently left in disarray, with items dropped off after hours that end up being taken to the landfill – at the church’s cost. (Contributed)

The Sicamous United Church Thrift Shop’s drop off area is frequently left in disarray, with items dropped off after hours that end up being taken to the landfill – at the church’s cost. (Contributed)

Volunteers frustrated with Sicamous thrift shop being used as a dump

United Church board chair said issue has been going on for more than a decade

Members of the Sicamous United Church community are frustrated with the way their thrift shop’s drop-off area is being used.

For more than 10 years the drop-off area has been used as a dump, stolen from or left in disarray, said Kris Nickerson, chair of the United Church’s board. As a result, the thrift shop spends at least $1,000 a month on transporting refuse to the landfill. It can cost more during the busy seasons of spring and fall.

This cuts into the amount of money that can be used to give back to the community and keep the church running, said Nickerson.

According to Brenda Honkanen, the thrift shop’s manager, on June 7 volunteers spent three hours cleaning up garbage and rummaged-through items before they could even get to work in the shop.

“We have volunteers who are in their 80s,” said Honkanen. “It’s very disheartening for them.”

Nickerson said the shop has installed security cameras on multiple occasions, but they’ve been destroyed every time.

Sometimes people drop off garbage bags full of clothes at the shop. Nickerson said people will rip open the bags and go through them to find the clothes they want, leaving the rest strewn about the property. In the winter or during rainy weather, this renders many clothes unusable.

Other times, people will leave actual bags of garbage at the thrift shop.

Honkanen said people who leave garbage at or steal from the drop-off area just don’t know what the thrift shop is meant to do.

“It’s meant to help people who might not otherwise be able to afford what we offer,” said Honkanen. “It cuts into the donations that we’re able to make.”

If people want to donate to the Sicamous United Church Thrift Shop, they’re encouraged to come by during the shop’s open hours of Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If they can’t make it then, they’re asked to call ahead and plan a time when they can meet up with a volunteer to drop off their donations.

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zachary.roman@saobserver.net

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Garbage