Hospice Thrift Store volunteers clean up mess dumped on property
Joe Sims is playing detective as the Pittsburg Cypress Basin Hospice Thrift Store investigates who recently dumped unusable clothes, furniture and trash beside their building.
Sims, Pittsburg local and volunteer at the store, said sometime between Sunday, June 22 and the morning of Monday, June 23, someone dropped off the load on the side of the store facing U.S. Highway 271 while the store was closed.
“Someone dropped off a lot of old clothes full of mold and mildew. They piled it up on the free side where donations don’t go. This stuff was mostly junk, and it stormed overnight, so that made it even worse,” Sims in a letter to The Gazette.
Sims said it was a lot of work and extra time and money to clean up the mess, which also included used toilet paper.
“It took two hours and three men to pick the junk up and put it in the dumpster, two-and-a-half pickup truck loads,” Sims said. “I think whoever dumped this trash should man up and take responsibility for what they did, at least pay the store for whatever it cost to have the extra (trash) pickup and maybe a little restitution for their trouble.”
Sims said mail found in the trash leads him to believe those who dumped it bought it in a recent storage auction.
Store manager Kelly Rigby told The Gazette the correct donation procedure is to bring items to the back of the building in a designated drive-up donation drop off area that has surveillance cameras to prevent theft. Donors should drop off items when the store is open Tuesday through Saturday.
“We hope people don’t drop after hours, but they do. Tuesdays are always a zoo back there,” Rigby said. “We all run up here Sundays and Mondays to check if there are nice things out there and we bring them inside. We have a lot of theft from the back, even with the camera.”
Rigby said the mess dumped two weeks ago was outside of the camera’s eye.
“It was soaking wet when we got here Monday morning because it had rained so hard Sunday night, so it was ruined to us. I called the city, and they arranged an extra pickup for us. That about $52 added to our dumpster payment,” Rigby said.
Rigby said she and Mecca Sellers both posted about the mess on their personal Facebook pages, and several people offered to come help clean up the mess. Joe Sims and his son, Tim and Frank Parker did the dirty work.
“If I could let anybody know anything, it’s just how important these donations are to us, and the good that it does. We have a lot of customers that can’t go to Walmart and buy. They shop with us,” Rigby said. “And that put a lot of extra work on us, too.”
Rigby said the store doesn’t keep anything that is broken or dirty to sell in the store.
“We have charities in impoverished countries that we send to, and we don’t waste anything. All of that got wasted. Maybe it wasn’t all trash, but it was trashed the way they left it,” she said.
The thrift store is a charitable organization that supports the Cypress Basin Hospice. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.