December 16th, 2017

Constant vandalism, theft force the POST to change donation policy

By Mo Cranker on August 6, 2017.

Assistant general manager of the POST Karen Gagne poses for a photo Saturday morning in front of the store's new donation policy sign. The POST recently had to switch to a during-hours only donation process due to looting and vandalism. -- NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER

mcranker@medicinehatnews.com@MHNmocranker

It is quite often that a select few people will ruin something good for everyone else.

That’s exactly what has happened with the POST’s donation policy.

“We originally built the bins outside of our store because of the weather, as well as theft,” said programs manager for Canadian Mental health Alberta Southeast Region Jason Thunberg. “What has happened in the recent months is that the cupboards were vandalized and we repaired them. Then they were vandalized again, to the point of doors actually being ripped right off and locks were being wrecked. These are expensive, specialty locks that we have to order every time.”

The near-constant theft and vandalism have forced the POST to adopt a new donation policy, one which asks people to only donate when the store is open.

“We’re asking people now to come during when we are operating to donate,” he said. “Your stuff is just too valuable, in my opinion, to put it to chance. I don’t want someone’s George Foreman Grill, toys or socks to go to waste… someone worked hard for those things.”

Thunberg says it is unfortunate that it has had to come to this, but he cannot keep rolling the dice on peoples’ overnight donations.

“We’ve tried really hard to make this work,” he said. “We’ve had these cupboards built twice, upgraded our security system and we’ve even been able to lay some charges. But it’s not enough, and it’s not going away. If someone comes by in a black hoodie and takes an unmarked bag of something, we can’t definitely say people take things — the POST and the police can only do so much.”

Thunberg says the repairs to the bins and locks has the POST back thousands of dollars, and added that the group will be looking for another solution while the new donation policy is in place.

“The community has been so great to us and we don’t want to be irresponsible with their donations,” he said. “We are in the process of trying to get some funds together to get new, more secure bins that would be much better than the ones we have now. We know how important these donations are.”

The POST’s operating hours are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is asking that people bring the items into the store, rather than leaving it outside to be collected.

For more information on the POST, go to http://www.thepostonline.ca

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