By Greg Laychak, The Observer
When Grace Admiraal went to the Agassiz-Harrison Community Services Thrift Store Monday morning she was greeted by two single bed mattresses outside the shop.
Just beside the discarded object is the store’s sign that states they do not take mattresses or box spring beds.
It’s something that happens all too often and year-round, according to Admiraal who oversees operations of the thrift store.
“If community members are donating acceptable items after hours, those valuable donations will be vulnerable to wind and rain during the night,” she said.
And mattresses aren’t accepted at all by the store, which is as important a point as drop-off times according to Admiraal.
“The mattresses must be transported to the landfill so transportation costs, volunteer time and landfill costs must be paid by community services,” she said. “Nobody is funding us for that so it will be taken away from the proceeds of the Agassiz Harrison Community services programming.”
Along with mattresses, unaccepted common items that are often dropped at the shop include TVs, couches, broken toys and larger appliances.
Every week there are enough dirty, ripped and otherwise unusable objects to fill the large garbage bin outside the store.
Off-hour and inappropriate drop-offs create an expense that cuts into the revenue earned from selling other products in the thrift store—objects that were so generously donated by community members, according to Admiraal.
In turn, the profit from that building helps fund local services such as the food bank, so those services suffer when these incidents occur.
“We are so thankful for all donation from the community but there also needs to be an awareness of acceptable and non-acceptable items,” Admiraal said.
The recent so-called donation follows another king sized mattress that was left at the thrift store in October that cost Agassiz-Harrison Community Services $75 to remove.
And aside from the added expense, some of the large items can be fire hazards—as shown by a January 2013 mattress fire at the thrift store that would have burnt down the building had a witness not moved it away.
Admiraal said the shop is run by motivated staff and volunteers, and that they “do an awesome job.”
“So it’s a shame when they are pulled away from their thrift store duties to deal with what is essentially garbage,” she added.
To decide whether an item is acceptable or not, a good gauge when donating is to consider if you would buy the item yourself in the thrift store, according to Admiraal.
If appropriate donations are brought to the store between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday volunteers are happy to help with unloading.
“That is the positive attitude that we have,” Admiraal said.
• If you are unsure about whether your item is suitable as a donation, contact the thrift store at 604-796-9932, or agassiz harrison community services at 604-796-2585.
The Agassiz-Harrison Community Thrift Store does not accept the following:
Liquids of any kind
Mattresses or box springs
Large carpets or underlay
Large desks (over four feet long)
Dressers without drawers
Magazines (older than two years)
Gyproc, building supplies, solvents
Paints and sprays
Long sofas (seven to eight feet)
Swing sets and trampolines