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Dropping Off Donated Items During Business Hours Helps Prevent Thefts

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Security camera catches a thief at the Oxford Salvation Army recently, taking items that were left at the store after hours that were intended to be donations.
Screen capture provided by the Salvation Army.

With many people clearing out closets to make room for gifts they received during the holidays, January has traditionally been one of the busiest months for the Oxford Salvation Army for taking in donated items.

To make sure those items reach the shelves as intended, Director Miranda Mansell offers some tips and information on what type of items the Salvation Army accepts and the best way to donate those items.

Along with an increase of donated items, the Salvation Army also sees an increase in theft during the month of January.

Photo via Salvation Army Facebook

“We are asking for the help of our community to ensure that the donations made to our organization are able to make it into our store and generate the dollars that help support those in need,” she said.

To help keep thieves at bay, Mansell said all donations should be dropped off during business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

“This is a huge help in making sure that items are brought into the service center and not left outside,” Mansell said. “Donations can be brought in the front door or left at the back garage door. We are happy to help bring in items when adequate staffing is available to afford the opportunity, and we provide donation receipts at the front counter.”

Taking bags or items left at the store is a crime, Mansell said.

“Taking donated items is essentially stealing from the many service programs we offer to help members of this community,” Mansell said. “We take it very seriously. We can, and do prosecute.”

Donations should not be left outside in the rain as the Salvation Army does not have washing machines or dryers and no way of preventing mold and mildew from damaging and destroying items that get wet.

“This means items left out in wet weather will have to go into our Dumpster,” Mansell said. “This presents multiple problems as we do not wish to throw away any items that may be desirable by our patrons and this also attracts Dumpster divers.”

Items being thrown away means those items aren’t sold and that income is lost, she said.

“The money made by the sale of items in our thrift store is poured back out into our community through the various social service programs and emergency aid we provide,” she said.

Mansell requests that clothing being donated is clean, with no rips, stains or tears; zippers should be working; shirts should not contain any profanity, sexual or lewd comments or offensive graphics nor have ads for tobacco or alcohol products. Shoes, purses and jewelry in good condition are accepted.

Appliances being donated must be in working order. Items with frayed cords or missing and broken parts are not sold.

Mattresses and box springs are not accepted unless they are brand new and still in sealed plastic packaging. Furniture and housewares are accepted but must be in “sell-able” condition and not broken.

The Salvation Army does not take toys due to countless safety recalls and hazard alerts.

“We can’t keep up with what toy has been recalled due to safety issues so to keep all children safe, we do cannot take in and sell toys,” she said.

Children and adult books, in good condition, are accepted as long as there is no lewd, sexual or offensive graphics or language on the cover.

Mansell said anyone is welcome to call the store regarding what items are accepted.

“We appreciate the support of our community through charitable giving and want to ensure good stewardship with every donation made to The Salvation Army,” Mansell said.

All donations are tax-deductible.

The Oxford Salvation Army Thrift Store is located on West Oxford Loop. For more information, call 662-236-2260.

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