Steamboat Springs Some mornings, employees of the LIFT-UP community thrift store get to work and really feel dumped on.
It seems LIFT-UP regularly receives donations nobody would want -- and it receives them in the dark of night.
Unlike the surge in unwanted pets the animal shelter has to contend with when seasonal workers leave town, LIFT-UP's dumping problem occurs year round, employee Julie Haugh said.
"Our biggest problem is people using us as Waste Management. We get so much trash. Stained things, broken things, and this becomes our greatest expense -- paying for waste management," Haugh said.
LIFT-UP is a local non-profit organization that sells residents' donations and uses the profits to support its other community programs, including a local food bank, community care fund, and South Routt Outreach program.
"We are a very busy and successful store. Our community really depends on us," LIFT-UP executive director Jan Jacobs said. "We wouldn't be in business without donations."
The trouble is, sometimes "donations" include furniture, torn or stained clothing, and broken electronic equipment -- things LIFT-UP cannot use -- and they're being dropped off during non-business hours.
Last fall, LIFT-UP lost its lease at its old location because the landlord was frustrated with insurance issues related to accumulated donations in inappropriate places, LIFT-UP employee Mary Beth Altiero said.
LIFT-UP organizers have contacted the police department in the past because of the problem. Although police have been cooperative, it is difficult for them to be in the right place at the right time, Jacobs said.
"Steamboat is an incredibly generous community," Jacobs said. LIFT-UP is always receiving a surplus of gently worn clothing, beautiful small furniture, and household items such as dishes and decorations, all of which sell right away.
As a rule, LIFT-UP cannot take large furniture, or skis and ski equipment.
"We also cannot accept appliances, computer components, or small, broken electronic devices. It's hard for any of us to throw things away, but some of these things are more effort than they're worth," Jacobs said.
Where and when the donations are dropped off is also extremely important, Altiero said.
LIFT-UP organizers ask that all donations be dropped off at the donation center at Seventh and Aspen streets during business hours.
"And, please don't leave anything at the Oak Street thrift store," Altiero said emphatically.
To inquire about making donations, call Mary Beth or Julie at 870-0727/871-9327 or visit LIFT-UP's donation center during business hours, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday and Friday at Seventh and Aspen streets.
-- To contact Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205