Think before you give

SHOP: St Vincent de Paul president, Peter Duffy, at the Wellington store with volunteers Molly Robertson and Fran Bridge. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY
SHOP: St Vincent de Paul president, Peter Duffy, at the Wellington store with volunteers Molly Robertson and Fran Bridge. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

Volunteers at St Vincent de Paul in Wellington are urging the public to be more considerate when donating items to the centre.

The message is being pushed by store manager, Peter Duffy, who has reported an increase in donations consisting of non-reusable items.

He said while donations are essential, the condition of some items being dropped to the store over weekends is coming at both an inconvenience and a cost to the service.

Items including TVs and electrical goods, bulky furniture and soiled clothing result in a tip run each week at the service’s expense, Mr Duffy said. 

“People put stuff that’s no good in the bags and dump it here because they don’t want to spend the $10 to take it to the tip,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of good people and a minority that abuse the system.” 

He recalled an incident recently which involved a heavy two-seater lounge which was left at the front of the store over a weekend. 

“It was filthy, you wouldn’t give it to someone really hard-up, it stunk,” he said. 

“Council took it away for us and the next day someone dumped a bulky TV set.

“It’s hard to put it into words without offending people, and there’s no way I’m not appreciative, but there’s no respect – that’s what it boils down to.

“We’re trying to do a good thing for people in poverty and you have people abusing the system.

“We appreciate what they’re trying to do, but we’re getting the minority who are ruining it for everybody.”

The situation comes as the Wellington store has enforced measures to stop the public from rummaging through the bins ahead of collection day.

Mr Duffy said volunteers were fed-up with people going through bins and ultimately leaving a mess along the road. 

“It gets on my goat that people can do that and not have any respect for the people who have donated it,” he said.

In an effort to reduce the rate of unusable donated items, the centre encourages the community to only drop donations to the store during 10am-4pm on week days.

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