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Posted on Jan 12, 2017

Thrift store’s drop-offs headache eases

Unusable mattresses are no longer being left outside during the night, and the manager of the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store, Luella Maine, is happy about it. So are the neighbors, she said.
About two months ago, Upper Columbia Basin Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store at 2232 Second Ave. SE, Quincy, had a problem, a headache that was costing the nonprofit organization time and money. Large items such as couches, box springs and mattresses were showing up night after night, but they were not usable donations. They were not in condition to be sold in the store and therefore had to be disposed of at the Habitat affiliate’s expense.
The Quincy Valley Post-Register published an article about the problem on Dec. 8. The unusable items had accumulated and were leaning against the donation center building. That area is cleaned up now.
“We haven’t had anything dumped since that article came out,” Maine said. “We’ve had the donations of clothing and things going in the depository boxes like they are supposed to.”
The nonprofit, known for building simple, affordable housing using volunteer labor, now has more people asking for instructions, saying, “We’ve had people calling to ask about what donations we’re taking, and what should they do if we don’t want it,” Maine said, adding that the staff is glad to help direct would-be donors to appropriate disposal places.
“People have been real considerate about Habitat having to clean up messes,” she said. “Our neighbors are very pleased.”
Two months ago, there were so many nighttime drop-offs that it seemed unlikely that the problem was being caused only by well-intentioned donors. But no nighttime culprits were identified.
With things running well again, Maine points out that the organization can pick up large items with a day’s notice. The nonprofit’s local board recently purchased a yellow box truck that is perfect for picking up big items.
And, the organization is gearing up to start construction on a house at the end of February or early March, Maine said. To volunteer for working on the house, paperwork can be picked up at the store. As there is plenty of volunteer work available, she said the organization would like to see more groups participate.
“We would really like to see businesses or groups choose one day and say ‘we’ll work this day,’” she said. “Even if you can’t hammer, you can come and pick up scraps of wood or clean up or sweep.”

Dave Burgess,

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