Although opportunity shops in Lakes Entrance are grateful for donations, it is becoming more prevalent for unsuitable articles to be donated.
“We are being forced to take up to 50 per cent of donated items to the tip,” Jan Hayes, who is manager at St Brendan’s Op Shop, said.
During COVID-19 restrictions the shop was closed and signs put up asking people not to leave any donations at the site, but unfortunately it became a dumping ground.
“We have had bags left with dirty nappies, smelly and dirty clothes, shoes that are clearly worn out, electrical items that don’t work, even clothes that have been bagged wet and have gone mouldy,” Jan said.
“As it is older people who volunteer, they have to cop it and it really is a risk to their health.”
Jan said it costs $60 to send a television to the tip and $3 for small electrical items.
“We welcome electrical goods that are in good working order, but a lot of them are not and the costs for removal are coming out of the funds we would normally donate back to our community,” she said.
Aileen Verrall, who volunteers at the shop, said they were grateful to the people who did the right thing.
“We have lost a lot of volunteers and don’t have the numbers to sort through everything, so at the moment we are not taking donations,” she said.
Aileen was sorting through a bag with nylon dressmaking scraps and a torn doona cover made from synthetic material.
“Both these items will need to be thrown out, they are not even suitable as rags,” Aileen said. The volunteers had put higher fencing up to try to stop dumping but people still throw bags over the fence. Last week intruders cut the ties off the gate and rummaged through donated bags. “There were items strewn everywhere, even the rubbish bin had been emptied, it was such a mess,” Jan said.
This sort of behaviour undoes all the good work these volunteers do and affects morale, according to Jan.
“If people are in need of any items they can come in and ask, we will give them to you, we are always willing to help and it will be better stuff than you find rummaging through donations,” she said.
Aileen Verrall and Jan Hughes with a ripped synthetic doona cover and scrap sewing pieces of nylon which can’t even be used as rags. (PS)