Staff at the Mills Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop spent hours cleaning up this mess of donations and household garbage on July 31. Despite efforts to keep donors from dropping off items after hours, the problem has only gotten worse, the store’s manager says. (Contributed photo)

Late-night donation drops and rummaging too much to handle

Terrace Thrift Shop workers overwhelmed with “almost daily” mess

A local thrift shop is consistently dealing with messes left outside the donations bin and dumpster, and the situation has become “overwhelming” for staff.

“It seems that people are dropping donations outside at night after the store is closed, and vagrants go through them and spread them all around,” said Mills Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop manager Marg Petrick. “Then they aren’t fit for anything. They go into the garbage.”

The store sells those donations to raise money for Mills Memorial Hospital and the Terraceview Lodge. Last year Petrick said the shop raised $80,000 for healthcare equipment and bursaries for healthcare employees. While donations in good condition are “much appreciated,” Petrick said the store is no longer accepting donations because of the volume of items they have to go through.

Even bags of donations that make it inside the dumpster bin are being taken out overnight, ripped open with items left strewn across the parking lot. Garbage is also taken out of the shop’s dumpster and mixed in with the piles, meaning those items volunteer gather up end up right back into the trash.

This happens at least four times a week, and Petrick estimates about a third of the donations the store receives end up in the garbage.

The shop has also seen a higher percentage of household garbage dropped off next to the store’s dumpster since last November, when the Terrace landfill closed and was replaced by the transfer station in Thornhill, she said.

READ MORE: Terrace B.C. resident frustrated with garbage dumping

“People don’t want to take the stuff out there and pay the $10, and our garbage has increased immensely.”

The store’s 20 to 25 staff mostly consists of workers between the ages of 60 and 70. Having to clean up so frequently has been difficult, said volunteer Sharon Mutschke. On some mornings she said there isn’t enough room to park her car in the driveway.

“I felt that I should just turn around and leave,” Mutschke said. “It’s so disheartening to go in and find a mess every day of the week… it’s too much.”

READ MORE: Can’t you read the sign?

This isn’t a new problem, either — Petrick said they’ve dealt with this for years, and despite signs instructing people to drop off donations during open hours, the situation has only gotten worse.

“We’ve been through this for five years now at least, we’ve been putting it on Facebook and in the paper saying ‘don’t drop off after hours because this is what happens to it,’” she said. “You’d think they’d value their donations more than that? Or are they just ready to dump it?”

When asked about the garbage being dumped outside the store, the city said it was a private property issue but that if a complaint was filed, a bylaw officer would visit the site and assess the situation.

The store plans on filing a complaint with the city’s bylaw officer soon.

“We’re almost to the point where we may have to shut down for a week to have a work party to get ahead of this,” Petrick said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Bags of donations brought back in to the store after being left beside the thrift shop’s donation bin on July 31. (Contibuted photo)

Just Posted

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

Martin Holzbauer, independent, Nicole Halbauer, BC NDP, and Ellis Ross, BC Liberal Party, are the candidates for the Skeena riding in the upcoming provincial election. (Terrace Standard/BC NDP)
Skeena candidates talk northwest education

Online learning access and early childhood education were common themes

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

David Block, director of development services for the City of Terrace, explains City staff’s new approach to bylaw and official community plan amendments associated with the proposed inland port development. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)
City of Terrace changes approach to inland port development process

Keith Estates Neighbourhood Concept Plan to be dealt with separately

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read