Salvation Army donation bin racked with theft, vandalism

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer

Quite simply what is happening at the donation bin behind the downtown Salvation Army store is out of control.

Those are the words of staff members who say the awesome people of Claresholm who donate items in good faith, don’t realize what happens once those items have been put in the bins.

People open the bins, rip open bags and boxes, go through everything, and take what is of value to them.

The rest is left scattered around the bin for others to go through and, ultimately, staff to clean up.

Over the recent Canada Day long weekend, people went through the bins and left everything scattered.

This time, they also left the bins open.

When the rains came, they soaked everything in the bins, ruining it all.

Staff were left with one option: the had to throw out everything, all those donations.

Everything that had been donated in good faith is now just garbage.

The same happened in the winter, only it was six inches of snow that ruined everything.

Consequently, the staff are encouraging everyone who wishes to make a donation to the Salvation Army, to do so during business hours when the store is open.

That will hopefully eliminate the problem, because people will have nothing to go through in the back.

They have also tried putting up signs. The sign was stolen.

Another time, a sign was ripped down. Staff found it under a nearby trailer and put it back up.

It was ripped down again, only this time there was something else. Someone had defecated on the sign.

The staff are at their wit’s end.

They emphasize the proceeds from everything the store sells goes to the Salvation Army which puts it back into the community.

So when someone steals something from the donation bin, staff say they are stealing from the Salvation Army and taking from the community.

Another concern is that people are using the bin as a dumping ground for everything from appliances and beds to old furniture, stoves, dish washers and more.

This is also garbage, and the Savation Army has had to hire a contractor to haul away this material, which can fill an entire trailer some weeks.

Again, staff are asking people to stop doing this.

Anyone who does see suspicious activity at the donation bin, is encouraged to contact the Claresholm RCMP at 403-625-4445.

Sergeant Greg Stannard of Claresholm RCMP said people who are caught could face charges of mischief, if there is damage to property, or theft under $5,000.