Saying enough; St. Vincent de Paul tightens up on after-hour activity
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – After-hour activity in the donation area has prompted Marshfield’s St. Vincent de Paul to tighten up on their donation policies and security.
“Coming to (St. Vincent’s) there has been a lot of things that I have been able to look at and say, ‘How can we make this better? How can we do more to give back to the community without raising our prices?’ said St. Vincent Store Manager Beth Littleton. “I started looking at expenses. How do we control these expenses? What do we have to do? So, I am looking at everything from credit card processing fees to our dumpster costs.”
Littleton stated that although St. Vincent goes through the same company as previous thrift stores in which she had been employed, she found the costs substantially larger.
“Granted, you are always going to have situations where you will have people that will donate stuff that you cannot use, that you can’t resell,” she said. “But, what I see happening is that people are coming here after dark, middle of the night; they know that we are closed, and they are dropping off stuff that they know we can’t resell – it’s dirty mattresses, it’s bathtubs, it’s dishwashers, it’s broken stuff.
“On top of it, you will get people that will stop in, and we have video, I can see it on the video, you will have people that will come through right after we close.”
Littleton said that some of these people are dropping off items that they have been told the business will not accept. Others scavenge through donated items left there after hours and take merchandise that they want.
“Then they leave it just thrown all over, and then we get rain and it soaks everything. On Monday morning we get here, and we literally have a pile in front of our employee entrance,” Litteton added.
At that point, the donated items become garbage as well.
Activity during the weekend of July 27-28 hit a turning point for the business, with a dirty bathtub left at the donation site and quality merchandise taken.
“This has been happening to (St. Vincent’s) for years. It has, and we know that, but at what point do we say ‘enough,’ explained Littleton.
“We are trying to do good things for the community. If it wasn’t for the store and the donations we get, we wouldn’t have outreach; we wouldn’t have the free medical clinic; we wouldn’t be able to have the food pantry; we wouldn’t be able to offer free meals on Monday and Wednesday.”
The business has now tightened up on their donation policies, putting up “No Trespassing” signs and barriers. Those donating outside of donation hours will be subject to fines.