Mountain of donations causing headache for Queenstown charity shop

by Lauren Pattemore - Feb 27, 2024

Salvation Army Queenstown employees rocked up to work yesterday to a "mountain" of donations on the doorstep, and the charity's community ministries director says these after-hours drop-offs aren't ideal.

"For our team to be met with that first thing on a Monday morning, it's not a great feeling," Andrew Wilson of Salvation Army Queenstown says.

The Salvation Army's Gorge Road store is open Monday to Saturday from 9am until 5pm, and is closed on Sundays. 

Mr Wilson says the key message is, whenever possible, drop off donations during business hours. However, he acknowledges that's not always possible with some people's work hours.

But there are complications when donations are left outside overnight.  

People do rummage through the pile whilst they're closed, and the "really good donations" are gone before they've had the chance to collect them, Mr Wilson says. 

Shortly after Crux took the above photo, a member of the public came and took two suitcases from the pile. 

Donations left outside too long can also end up ruined, and that creates an additional job for staff.

"They can get wet. If it does rain, we don't have a choice but to discard the donations."

However, Mr Wilson stresses they are grateful for all donations of clothes and other goods, which are vital as a "substantial amount" of their work is funded through money raised at the op shop. 

The team working at the store and sorting the donations do an "insurmountable" job, Mr Wilson says.

While Mr Wilson wasn't there on Monday to see this weekend's pile firsthand, he says many households had a "big cleanout" on Waitangi Day and there had also been a large pile after that, which had taken a while to sort.

On any Monday morning it's "all hands on deck" to clear the donations away from the door, as the building is also the headquarters for the community ministries team, so people need access. 

Mr Wilson says another reason they prefer people to drop off their second-hand items in person, is because it gives the team a chance to thank the donor directly. 

Main image: Donations pile up outside the Salvation Army Queenstown's doors on Gorge Road on Sunday night, February 25.

Support Crux Support Crux