CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Across the Coastal Bend, after hours donations at Goodwill locations have been causing issues for the non-profit.
“When they’re donated after hours, they’re exposed to the elements, people steal the donations. At the end of the day, they end up being trash,” said Majorie Boudreaux, the Vice President of development for Goodwill Industries of South Texas.
Boudreaux said dropping off items after hours happens at most of the Coastal Bend locations, and the employees use a lot of resources to clean up the locations.
“We know our donors’ hearts are in the right place, they want to give their items to Goodwill, because they know we will do good things with it. We can do that, but not if they’re dropping it off after hours,” she said.
At the Goodwill location on Alameda Street, the after hours drop-offs are causing issues for neighboring business Feathered Friends & Co.
“It leaves myself and my employees to have to clean everything up at six, seven o’clock in the morning,” said Marcus Lozano, owner of Feathered Friends. “These items are getting dropped off at ten o’clock at night, they’re getting rained on, they’re getting blown around all over the parking lot. It’s turning into a huge pain.”
Lozano said multiple times he and his employees have had to clean up the parking lot after items were strewn across the parking lot, including on Easter Sunday.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back is we spent a couple hours cleaning everything up, and then I was notified on my camera like two hours later that there was another round of people going through all the items,” Lozano said.
A few weeks ago, some mattresses were left behind the building and caught fire.
“A lady from Wienerschnitzel next door came running, and she was like, ‘oh my god, your building is on fire!’ We had no idea what to think, we looked out and thought it was the whole back of the yoga studio that was here. So, immediately we started bringing all the animals out of the store, bringing them to the street,” Lozano said. “I definitely could’ve lost my business that day.”
The Corpus Christi Fire Department responded quickly to the fire, and Lozano said luckily, the only damage caused was burnt paint off the side of the building.
“This is my life’s work, this is everything that I’ve ever dreamed of, and for it to be taken away that quickly, it’s pretty traumatic,” he said.
Lozano said a lot of the things he’s seen left by people can’t even be accepted by Goodwill, like paint cans, propane tanks, and even hypodermic needles.
“I find that people are dropping off junk in the middle of the night, stuff they don’t want,” he said.
A list of acceptable donations can be found on the Goodwill website. Boudreaux said there’s an easy way to determine if you should donate an item.
“If it’s broken, if you wouldn’t use it, don’t give it to Goodwill,” she said.
Instead of bringing junk to Goodwill, both Boudreaux and Lozano recommend people go to the J.C. Elliott Collection Center, which offers its disposal service free of charge.