'So unfair': charity workers left with Easter clean up after scavengers strike

SCAVENGERS have rifled through donations left at the doors of St Vincent de Paul and in the donation boxes in McNamara Street on Saturday night leaving clothes, household items and toys strewn all over the footpath.

St Vincent de Paul mobilised its specially tasked team of ‘weekend warrior’ volunteers after mass on Sunday to clean up the mess with one-and-a-half skip bins of items left in the charity bins and on the footpath unable to be passed on for sale at the charity shop.

The problem has been ongoing for St Vincent de Paul over the last few years with the organisation putting in place a number of strategies to try to discourage people pilfering from the bags and boxes donated.

“The group of people we call on at the weekends are volunteers who work through the week and are keen to help out,” president of the St Vincent de Paul Society Bob Lulham said.

However he says he wants the public to give more thought to the type of items being donated so the volunteers don’t become pseudo garbage collectors.

“We are very grateful to the community and rely on their support, but it would be appreciated if a little more thought could go into the quality of donations at times,” Mr Lulham said.

Mr Lulham said St Vincent de Paul decided to form the special group of volunteers to target weekend ‘dumps’ to avoid a massive clean up at the start of the week.

“We certainly don’t want our volunteers turning up to the shop on Monday morning and being confronted with this,” he said.

On Sunday morning Orange resident Joanne Fraser, who was dropping off neatly packaged items for the charity shop, said she was shocked by the mess.

“This is just so unfair for the people of St Vincent de Paul and the thing is people don’t have to do this to steal things,” she said.

“You only have to go inside the shop to see how reasonably priced everything is, so it is affordable for people who don’t have much money. 

“This is really sad particularly when you think it is Easter Sunday and people have shown so much disregard to go through all the bags like this.”

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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