Charity shops ‘treated like a rubbish dump’

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Local charity shops say they are sick of being treated like a rubbish dump and also of having donated goods stolen from the curb side.

Nelson Weekly spoke with several charity shop managers who reported having disgusting second-hand clothes dropped at their doorstep.

Nelson’s St Vincent de Paul volunteer Lois Palmer says they often get rubbish dumped outside overnight. “One of the worst things we’ve been given was some fly-blown meat, crawling with maggots and wrapped up in a quilt. I had to clean it up and it took quite a while because the maggots were all over the ground,” says Lois.

Lois says they spend $180 each month on a skip bin to dispose of all the rubbish.

Lois says the shop also has people go through the stuff that gets dumped. “People often say, ‘did you get that table I left?’ but, of course, the table has walked off down the road with someone else. The good stuff gets taken and they just scatter the bad stuff across the road.”

Nelson Tasman Hospice shop manager Karen MacKenzie-Howe says they often have “disgusting” items dumped.

The Richmond store is one of five hospice shops around the Nelson-Tasman region staffed by a manager and volunteers who help raise funds for the hospice. Although Karen says the majority of people donate clean, good quality second-hand clothes, a small minority continue to leave damaged or dirty clothing.

The latest collection of unsuitable clothing was left outside the Queen St store last week and Karen says “the stench was unbearable”.

“When I opened one of the bags it was just filth. There was vomit and disgusting stains on some of the clothes. It’s not fair on our volunteers having to handle this stuff.”