Salvation Army Thrift Store striving to sort, store an overwhelming amount of community donations
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout’s Salvation Army Thrift Store volunteers are continuing to balance COVID-19 public health precautions with an overwhelming amount of community donations.
The thrift store has been updating the types of donations that they are able to accept at any given time. They have been making several efforts to notify the community via their Facebook page.
Lois Mombourquette, the secretary for the Executive Committee of the Salvation Army Thrift Store, said, “For the last few weeks, we’ve just been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in terms of giving their donations. A lot of that is because we weren’t able to accept any donations for quite a few months over the summer when we were closed, and now we’re only open half the hours that we normally would before COVID.” She added that, as a precaution to curb the spread of the virus, they have been storing donations for a few days before they begin to sort.
Mombourquette explained, “Especially during COVID, it’s about the balancing act, in terms of how much we can process. In the past, we used to store a lot of our donations in the back room. It’s really tiny and not much storage capacity. So, since COVID started, we’re trying to keep more space in the store.”
Mombourquette added that it could be housewares or clothing donations, or both, that they may temporarily be unable to accept, depending on the amounts they receive and how they are able to manage those donations at the time. She said, “People have been really compliant and grateful for the ability to be able to come in and shop and also to be able to have a place to take their donations. It’s just that, we don’t want people leaving things outside when nobody is in the store to accept them.” Donations are only accepted during the store’s hours of operation, on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Mombourquette commented, “It’s constant monitoring of how much we’ve got and how much we can accept.” She added, “It’s an always changing situation. Including what provincial restrictions are and what the district restrictions are, it’s like a moving target kind of thing and we’re just trying to keep everybody safe: The shoppers, as well as the workers.” Mombourquette added that the volunteers try to keep people up-to-date as much as possible. “We appreciate the patience of the people in the community, who are donating to us. But just stay tuned for the most up-to-the-minute information about whether we’re accepting donation or not, check our Facebook page.” Updates about the store can be viewed at their Sioux Lookout Salvation Army Online Shop Facebook page.
Another area organization that has opened their doors to accepting donations, especially warm clothing, is the Sioux Lookout Out Of the Cold Shelter. The Shelter shared with The Bulletin that they are open to accepting donations of warm clothing like mitts, coats, and sweaters, which can be dropped off at 25 Fair Street. However, they are very specific about the winter clothing and will not able to accept general clothing or housewares.
The Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre’s Program Manager, Ashley Edward said that typically, they accept clothing donations. However, she said, “Due to COVID, we can’t guarantee the safety of items being donated, that they may or may not have come in contact with COVID. We are not accepting donations at this time.” Edward said that they are hopeful and are looking forward to being able to start accepting donations again soon.