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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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Charities warn that donations left outside shops 'could be stolen or deliberately destroyed'

Some charities have experienced an increase in people leaving items outside their shops.

shutterstock_2613081 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Tim Large

A NUMBER OF charities have advised people to drop off donations at their shops during working hours.

Some organisations have experienced an increase in people leaving bags of clothing and other items outside shops. Charities have voiced concerns about the practice as, particularly when the bags are left unattended overnight, their contents often end up being taken or thrown out onto the footpath or street outside the shop.

A spokesperson for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) said the charity, which has a network of over 220 shops throughout Ireland, has attempted to combat the practice by asking people to not leave donations outside its shops.

“Charity shops depend on the goodwill of the public for donations of clothes and goods which play a valuable part in the charities’ ability to raise money for their good works.

“Donations left outside charity shops can cause great difficulty and expense for the organisation. Such donations are likely to be damaged or destroyed by the weather and the charity has to bear the cost of its removal.”

vin Clothes on the footpath outside an SVP shop on George's St in Dublin city Source: Kelly Earley/TheJournal.ie

The spokesperson said these donations are also “prone to theft” or to being “deliberately destroyed”.

If donations are left in a black bag in a public area there is every possibility that the shop could be prosecuted for littering the area.

“The only way to ensure that a donation is used effectively by a charity is to bring the donation into the shop during normal opening hours,” the spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

Some safety concerns have also been raised about clothes banks. Dublin Fire Brigade attended a fire at one of the facilities near South Circular Road yesterday, for example.

Enable Ireland has also experienced people leaving donations outside its shops.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Our advice to members of the public is to drop their donations directly into our shops or you can drop items all year round into any TK Maxx store nationwide, as part of their Give Up Clothes For Good campaign.”

They said this is “the safest way to ensure that we get their donation and can then sell it on in our charity shops, raising vital funds for our disability services around the country”.

Enable Ireland also has over 270 textile banks nationwide.

Donation banks 

Oxfam Ireland said the practice of people leaving donations outside their shops is not an issue it regularly encounters.

As well as their network of shops, the charity has donation banks where people can leave goods at any time.

“We actively encourage our supporters to make donations to these banks outside of trading hours,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Dublin Simon Community – which has shops on Thomas Street and Lower Camden Street in the capital - said the charity hasn’t experienced people leaving donations outside its shops recently.

“We have signs up to encourage people to donate into the shops directly, and would advise supporters to do this if we get any queries.

“We would always encourage supporters to drop items directly into our teams in our charity shops … so that they can be sorted and distributed as quickly as possible.

“The donations we receive in our shops are extremely important to the people who rely on us as we always ensure that we are able to provide clothing and other items to help people accessing our services from when they first arrive at the door, often with nothing.”

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Órla Ryan

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