LIFT-UP donation center officials are asking people to stop dropping off items outside the store while it’s not open, and new signs threaten prosecution. LIFT-UP Director David Freseman said dumping is common.

Photo by John F. Russell

LIFT-UP donation center officials are asking people to stop dropping off items outside the store while it’s not open, and new signs threaten prosecution. LIFT-UP Director David Freseman said dumping is common.

LIFT-UP officials threaten prosecution for after-hour contributions

Routt County donation center director tries to deter dumping

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LIFT-UP officials ask that people to stop leaving items outside the donation center while it’s not open.

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Clothes were piled outside LIFT-UP of Routt County on Friday when the facility was closed because of Good Friday.

If you go

■ The LIFT-UP donation center, 2125 Curve Court, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

■ To arrange for a drop-off outside of normal operating hours, call LIFT-UP during operating hours at 871-9327 or 879-3374.

■ LIFT-UP cannot accept: Skis, snowboards, bindings, car seats, humidifiers, computers or accessories, diaper bins, potty seats, custom window fixtures, electric blankets, mattresses, box springs, bed pillows, helmets or torn or stained clothing.

— LIFT-UP of Routt County relies on the revenue of its thrift store to generate money for the food bank, for hotel and utility vouchers and for basic expenses. But Director David Freseman said after-hours donations are bogging down the process as donors are repeatedly dumping items outside the center while it is closed. To counter the problem, Frese­man said LIFT-UP is ready to turn to the police to turn in anybody seen unloading after hours.

Outside the LIFT-UP donation center are at least three signs telling donors not to leave items outside the door and telling them they can be prosecuted for doing so. Despite the warnings, several large bags and boxes sat there Friday morning, a day the center was closed for the Good Friday holiday.

“We know that most people are very generous, and we appreciate the generosity,” Freseman said. “We need the donations, there’s no questions about that, and we’re very grateful for the generosity in the community. We don’t want the wrong impression out there; we just want the respect of the community for the times and guidelines.”

Freseman said that before the center put up the signs threatening prosecution, workers would find donations dumped outside the door nearly every weekend.

“It’s out in the weather, so it ruins it most of the time,” including donations such as books and clothing, he said. “Even furniture. Sometimes they’d leave a sofa, and it would get soaked in the rain.”

Freseman said the guidelines sometimes upset community members who are trying to help the center, but the guidelines are in place to make sure the center isn’t overrun and doesn’t get stuck with items it can’t accept. Those often turn into trash.

“There seems to be a correlation, too,” Freseman said. “When people just leave stuff … a lot of it is trash that we can’t use anyway.”

LIFT-UP accepts only two large bags or boxes per donation so the staff is not overwhelmed with truckloads of donations at a time.

To stop the illegal, unwanted dumping, Freseman turned for advice to Tom Whiddon, community service supervisor with the Steamboat Springs Police Department.

“I just told him that if he could get a license plate and a description of the car and person, we could talk to them and let them know they could be cited for littering,” Whiddon said.

He said community service officers do the same thing with Waste Manage­ment, where people often dump trash after hours without paying for it.

Freseman said LIFT-UP workers had taken down license plates before the signs were up but never turned them over to police. Now, they will turn them over immediately.

Whiddon said people often are unaware they are breaking the law but that the signs Freseman put up should clarify the situation. Whiddon said that in every case with Waste Management, the person has re­­turned to either pay to drop off the trash or to pick it back up — officers haven’t issued a ticket.

To keep the donations coming and to make it more convenient for people who need to drop off items after business hours, Freseman said workers are willing to arrange drop-off times outside of normal hours if people call ahead. He said he often hears that people would like the center to accept donations on Saturdays, and that’s a time he’s willing to arrange to meet the donors.

To arrange for an after-hours donation, call LIFT-UP at 871-9327 or 879-3374 during normal hours. The donation center is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at 2125 Curve Court.

Comments

beentheredonethat 4 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Freesman, are you kidding me? Are you stupid? How is it possible to believe that limiting donation hours from 10:00 to 3:00 is "donation friendly"? Everyone I know is at work during those times and must rely on weekends to take care of personal business, such as making donations. Get a grip on reality and change your policy which is what is creating the problem. Don't blame the many people wanting to help others by making donations.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 8 months ago

They have after hours donations for those able to use a telephone.

Simply put, too many people are leaving them with junk that costs them removal costs. So instead of Lift-Up spending their resources helping people, they are spending their resources as a trash service for people that leave stuff there after hours.

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runnerbikerdriver44 4 years, 8 months ago

beenthere-I couldn't agree more with you! I tried to donate to them, but they would only accept two bags at a time! It was so difficult to try and donate that I ended up taking my items to a location on the front range when I was down there.

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1999 4 years, 8 months ago

did you guys not read the part where it's mostly trash that is "donated" after hours.

it's a charity.....good lord...you act like they are made out of money and able to pay staff to be present at all times.

people can call to set up donation times that meet their needs.

DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE???????

jeez...

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seeuski 4 years, 8 months ago

1999 is correct, most likely the people who work so hard there are donating their time.

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kathy foos 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe there should be one more charitie set up for totally free stuff that volunteers could just throw away if no good and people that come to get free stuff would have to help out a little while shopping.It would be great to have free clothes available for people that are totally broke and cannot afford liftup ,Phippsburg is the cheapest of anywhere and that really does help people out when they are down,good job in Phippsburg.Please consider donating there also.they are nonpofit and have many unsung hero volunteers that have spent most of their lives helping the community with this little operation.You know come to think of it,I dont ever remember an article by the paper on this facility.How about it Brent?Go there and you will truly meet some of the best volunteers in the county.

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1999 4 years, 8 months ago

sun...why don't you set up a charity in your yard and tell everyone that they can drop off ANYTHING they want....good ot bad...trash or not... and you will take the time to sift thru it and find good and bad stuff.

I really don't think you understand the time it takes to do this.

heres another idea.

lift up has commuity volunteer hours availible..please go in and sign up and make sure you ask for the part where you sift thru MOUNDS of stuff.

all you other complainers should do the same...believe me it would be eye opening for you all.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 8 months ago

The Pburg store is great. They also have problems with what people leave when they are closed. The same problem with people leaving junk when the store is closed is also an issue at the Oak Creek thrift store.

The intent to donate is good, but a proper donation requires that the recipient wants the donation. A "donation" that the recipient cannot use ceases to be a donation and instead becomes a burden.

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Taken4m 4 years, 8 months ago

Here are so guidelines for those who would donate:

If it needs a little mending, it's trash.

If it has stains on it, it's trash.

If you think someone else will take the time to finish it or repair it, it's trash.

No matter how good your unlaundered, brand name stuff is, when it rides around during mud season in the back of your car with your dogs, it is trash.

There is no facility that will wash, mend and work the stains out of Juniors favorite shirt that sold at Wal-Mart for $3.00 the first time around.

No broken zippers, no shoes that just need a little Shoe-Goo, no stuffed animals or items that you even think MIGHT be carrying mold spores or nits.

Please DO NOT clean out your garage on Sunday and unload your stuff at the door.

When you donate, STAY and go through it with whoever works there and don't be crestfallen or defensive when you find that 70% of the stuff you brought is going straight to the dumpster. Then ask how many times that dumpster is emptied every month and at what cost. Realize your responsibility when you find you can't even give your stuff away.

If your attitude remains "They oughta be grateful", then you are not being charitable.

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dave reynolds 4 years, 8 months ago

why do you think Waste Management stopped opening thier gate on Saturdays..the same reason lift -up is asking you to (hey what a concept follow the rules)so they can sort the trash from the donations..I worked for Waste Management years ago and to be quite frank it was appauling at the amount of trash you would find in the recycling..in fact on time my boss and I were in the office (5:30 A.M.) and a car pulled up had a child run up and throw trash in the dumpsters by the gate..We ran out to catch her but she sped off..A fine example to set for your child..Not all people abuse the system the small percentage that do ruin it for everyone else..oh wait theres that entitlement clause again

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

Pburg is great!!!!! I have to say though, I have twice to set up after hour drop offs, both times I never got a call back. I tried to leave my TWO bags and was told that they had taken all they could for the day, and turned mine away. While understandable, it does make it hard to contribute when your contributions are not welcome. (and no, it was NOT trash)

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1999 4 years, 8 months ago

gee bandmama.....maybe they had taken all they could for the day??? ever think of that?

why don't you set up a charity drop off in YOUR yard and see how it goes?

as said above.....If your attitude remains "They oughta be grateful", then you are not being charitable

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Laura Rich 4 years, 8 months ago

From personal experience of working there, the staffwoman that runs the donation section of the center, Nancy, does not even look at the stuff that is left out side- she just has it immedately thrown out. TO ME that is a BIG SLAP in the FACE, and to tell the truth, for her having such a love for books, she throws out more books than the College or Public libraries do(these libraries recently realized that donating the books to others is a better idea). She will tell the people working there to throw the stuff out without ever even looking at it. If the public knew what is done, they might even stop donating.. I bet that would put a crunch in their business. When people donate, they like the thought of helping others, however, the hours are not conducive to the WORKING PEOPLE that are doing the donating, and since the Lift-up organizations rely on the donations of the public, they need to consider the hours that the public is available to make their donations and not what is convenient for Lift-up. Lift-Up could always arrange for a donation time worker to be available on a Sat., instead of a week-day, - which would be more conducive for the public.

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Laura Rich 4 years, 8 months ago

BUT most of all, how about Lift-Up providing an enclosed shed(for weather protection of items that is made available for the people that cannot donate during Lift-Up hours, and/or have on site phones to call or the numbers posted to reach someone available so their donation can be accepted. Or make arrangements to keep the items in the shed until the next time Lift-Up staff is able to handle it. OR maybe accept donations on Monday's or Satrurday's.
People do not want to have to re-arrange their own schedule just to wait for the Staff to take what they have to offer. People do not want to give up their precious 1/2 hr. lunchtime to accommodate the hrs. Dave thinks are convenient for Lift-Up. Most of the people who donate have jobs, and 10-3 is not a time their employer is going to allow them to run over to Lift-Up so their donation can be made. Also, the 2 bag limit is absurd- when people clean out their closets, they often have more than can fit into 2 bags. If this office cannot use the excess, pass it on to other less affluent Lift-Up centers elsewhere!Since the organization is huge, they could also connect with other branches that may be in need of the donations, and arrange to have them pick up what this branch doesn't want or deliver to them. These are more workable solutions than what Dave is suggesting by prosecuting people who are TRYING TO BE NICE and going out of their way to do something good and worthwhile for their community. To act like people (who, in reality, are donating during hrs. that are conducive for them to do so) are ruthlessly "leaving junk" is just not the reality of the situation. People who are getting rid of their 'junk' will just take it to a dumpster- they aren't going to go to the trouble of driving all way out to Lift-Up and maliciously leave it there. There are plenty of unwatched dumpsters all over the place that those who want to dump junk take advantage of (which is why the dumpsters has the $500 fine signs on them- they try to deter that kind of activity- however, those who do actually do that are smart enough to use dumpsters that are in places that it would not be terribly obvious if they were or were not 'allowed' to use it). By the way, most people who 'volunteer', are simply there to work off Court ordered Community Service hrs.- there are a handful of paid employees, and some very nice people from the community that voluntarily offer to donate their time.

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Laura Rich 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe someone needs to suggest to Dave to make a polite retraction! I'm sure what he proposed does NOT set well with the public who are making those donations! 'hey, don't donate unless we ok it, or it agrees with our schedule- or we'll prosecute you for littering!' is just lame, especially in light of the fact that they throw out every bag left outside- they create their own 'junk' by doing that. The selling of those donations is what provides a LOT of the money for the food bank. The rent and utility assistance, and other assistance they provide, as well as covering a good portion of their overhead comes from grants and money donated, and they are a gov't organization which is funded. Even if they were a 'charity'-which being a gov't organization they most likely are not- by law they would only have to 'donate' 5 to 15 % of what they collected toward whatever 'charitable' cause they are tooting. Surely, they can connect with other centers to take their excess, since they don't want to deal with whatever is left when no one is available to accept their donation. Their 'problem' could be very easily solved- without threatening to prosecute the people who make their business viable. They could Think SMART. And for all you nay-sayers that think something that needs a little mending, or fixing, or cleaning is Not a worthwhile item, maybe you need to realize that that is just how Goodwill Industry began employing people, and providing an inexpensive way for others to benefit from those items. Goodwill Industries is now a $3.2 BILLION a year industry. And the fellow out there at the landfill is making a killing off of other people's 'junk'. It's called recycling- which is an admirable thing to be doing, especially in today's economy.

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

1999- first of all, you need to realize that there are things called yard sales and yes I have had a few, by trying to donate to Lift Up I felt I was helping a worthwhile cause. When donations are repeatedly turned away, or not excepted for whatever reason people eventually stop trying. I dont even bother with them any more. I donate to Pburg where items are excepted, looked over and actaully used in the community, and get this, they are appreciated. Neat concept huh? As far as your comment about being grateful, yeah, if someone is geting assistance from ANY organization they should be grateful that there are people out there who take the time and effort NOT to just throw things out but try to make those items availible to them. If someone in that position is NOT grateful for the help they are getting then no I honestly dont think that they need it that much. Any time you get a helping hand you should be "grateful." Springs-excellent points and maybe these suggestions will be taken to heart. Thanks for pointing out that a little mending or replacing of a button doesn't mean the item is no good. A church in my hometown "recycles" shoes. The program is run by an elderly gentleman who cleans, mends, re soles, sorts, and makes sure that the times for donations and pick ups are availible to any one in need. MANY MANY local children who would not have "cool" or updated shoes for school, MANY people in need have boots for the winter. Are they all NEW SHOES? No, do the people who benefit from the program care? Nope. Does the gentleman who runs the program get some satisfaction from helping others? You bet! He does it to help the community and those in need, not because it is convienent for him. Wow, he actually does it to help those who need it. Oh yeah, those who get some of these neat refurbished shoes are GRATEFUL.....

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

ok, one more little point, of course all itmes need to be "gone through" That should be a no brainer.

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

whoops, that should have been "accepted" not "excepted.....

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James Earley, MCSE 4 years, 8 months ago

We have always stressed to our children the importance of helping those less fortunate, and make it a family outing when we go to the store and pick stuff out to donate, including toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. But that sign in the parking lot puts an end to that.

In the future we'll drive it to Lift-Up Hayden instead. Obviously, the people in Steamboat don't need our help.

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Taken4m 4 years, 8 months ago

Springs:

Those are a bunch of pretty words that make perfect sense. Now Go Get 'Em! Many of the volunteers are there to help in any way they are needed. What a refreshing change you will be with your ideas and the desire to delegate responsibilities. As your time spent as a helper will be short, make sure you pass your thoughts along to anyone that will listen. It may be news to them and, perhaps, be "taken to heart". It may also give you the opportunity to explore and discuss why some of these ideas have not worked for this facility. Good Luck!

Bandmama:

Thank you for the story of your Cobbler Aquaintance. Perhaps you can provide a drop box for shoes that can be sent by you to him.... Unless you feel you may overwhelm this man, who volunteers his time, with too many shoes.

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