Clean-ups leave charity stores out of pocket


By Jessica Micallef

Op shops and charity stores are being forced to foot the bill to clean up unsuitable items dumped at their door.

As stores begin to reopen and COVID-19 restrictions ease, local outlets have reported a significant increase in donations but Macedon Ranges council says up to a third of items donated are not suitable to be resold.

Lancefield Op Shop volunteer Anne Connors said the thrift store forked out $850 before Christmas to send dumped and unsellable items to the tip.

“That is a lot of money for a little op shop like us,” she said.

“It was all sorts of things – electrical things, clothing that couldn’t be sold, very dirty things like prams that were 20 years old.

“We are not allowed to sell cots if they are over five years and items have to be in pretty good condition.

“Items need to be clean because we have nowhere to wash them.”

Ms Connors urged anyone wishing to donate items to the op shop to contact the store beforehand.

The council’s assets and operations director Shane Walden said he welcomed residents wanting to show their support for local organisations, but they needed to do so in a respectful manner.

“If the correct processes are not followed it can create a financial burden for these not-for-profit organisations as well as a strain on volunteers,” he said.

“We are in this together so let’s free up op shops to help our most vulnerable community members.”

Op shops and charity stores have different requirements regarding what items they can accept.

The council encourages all residents to check before they donate to ensure the donation is acceptable.