• December 7, 2019

Disposal fees cost Salvation Army more than $11,000 thus far in 2019 - Odessa American: Local News

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Heightened expenses Disposal fees cost Salvation Army more than $11,000 thus far in 2019

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  • Sorting Through Donations

    The Salvation Army Thrift Store committee members Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke, left, Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis, center, and Ector County Hospital Board Director Bryn Dodd sift through clothing to find sellable items Saturday at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. The thrift store would urge citizens to only make donations during business hours. When items are left out in the weather during non-business hours it is common for those items to be ruined by the weather. The thrift store manager Jonathan Regalado said they have had a serious problem with citizens treating the store like a city dump. Regalado said when the thrift store is forced to take items that should not have arrived there in the first place, it cost the thrift store an average cost of $320 to take it to the dump. That money takes away from the Salvation Army's programs and meals.

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Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2019 5:30 am

As of Tuesday morning, Lt. Juan Gomez said the Salvation Army of Odessa has spent more than $11,000 in disposal fees.

Gomez explained those expenses don’t include labor costs or the price of gas.

The Salvation Army of Odessa lieutenant said the most discouraging part of those disposal fees is many of the items that were taken to the landfill could have been sold in the nonprofit’s thrift store.

“I’m more disappointed in the stuff that we could have got to in time, but we didn’t,” Gomez said. “Somebody really intended for us to use it for good; it was good, but the sun got to it; the water got to it; or somebody else got to it.”

Odessa Police Department Chief Michael Gerke, a Salvation Army board member, echoed those sentiments.

Gerke said it’s disheartening the Salvation Army of Odessa has missed out on potentially thousands of dollars that it would have reinvested into the community.

“That’s $11,000 that can’t go to the people that need the shelter,” Gerke said. “The money that is generated at the thrift shop goes directly back into helping the folks that need the Salvation Army shelter with food and housing. That’s $11,000 that wasn’t able to be used for that.”

The Salvation Army has three donation bins located on its thrift store parking lot, but over the weekend those bins can fill up quickly.

Gomez and Gerke each said many times the bins can be filled with bags of garbage. If bags of clothes are left outside of the bins, most of those items can’t be resold.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis, who also a committee board member of the Salvation Army Thrift Store, said he doesn’t want to stop anyone from giving items to the nonprofit organization, but he urges the public to donate appropriate items during business hours.

“If that stuff gets wet over the weekend, there’s a good chance that it will spoil or it will mold and start the deterioration process,” Griffis said. “It’s not good for this stuff to sit out in the elements.

“There are items that the Salvation Army really has no desire to take. Everything that is brought in there has to be in a resellable condition.”

Gomez said it can be a hassle for individuals to donate items during business hours.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. It is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Gomez said the Salvation Army has had discussions about moving the donation boxes from the back of the parking lot inside the barbed wire fence. Gomez said that might discourage people from dumping items on the thrift store’s parking lot.

Sheriff Griffis said the committee has talked about putting up signs in the parking lot.

Gerke went a step further and explained he would like to install surveillance cameras in the parking lot.

“You see it all the time where people have put videos out at illegal dumping places and captured a person’s face and their license plate number,” Gerke said. “Once you have that, it’s pretty easy to prosecute.”

Gomez said he welcomes the idea of surveillance cameras, but he also knows there will be a price to purchase the equipment and a continuous cost to monitor it.

“It’s kind of a Catch-22,” Gomez said. “Whatever it is that we try to do to make the situation better, it’s still going to put us in a situation where I have to question, ‘Where’s the good stewardship in these funds?’”

Odessa, TX

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