SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WHSM) -- Western Mass News is getting answers on a growing problem in the area called donation dumping.

The Salvation Army told Western Mass News that even though their stores are closed due to coronavirus, people have been simply leaving their unwanted items on the curb.

Donation dumping is a problem that The Salvation Army donation centers have faced for years, but store supervisor Jim Barnes told us that for the past three weeks, every day he’s shown up to check on the stores in western Mass and been greeted by the growing issue.

“So pretty much daily, we have five stores, and I go to each store to make sure there’s not dumping outside the store,” Barnes said.

From crutches, to computers, to broken furniture and toys, none of it salvageable.

“People will donate old tires and used oil from their cars. I mean, these are things obviously we cannot take and cost us even more because we can’t just dispose of them,” said Cpt. David Wetzel, Salvation Army administrator.

Wetzel said with their doors closed due to coronavirus, they've seen an uptick in this illegal dumping under the disguise of donating.

“People will donate items outside of the building when it’s closed or no one is watching. The items then have to be disposed of at our expense,” he said.

The told Western Mass News that on days that it rains, the problem becomes even worse because everything has to go straight into the compactor.

“Our monthly dumping fees can be up to $10,000,” Wetzel said.

This is a bill that their organization can’t afford to foot, especially while their stores are closed.

“Basically, the store and all of our donation centers support our drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Springfield. The store generates money to support that. We don’t have any other funding. Some people are doing that out of the kindness of their heart, but it really does cost us a great deal of money that should be going towards our program,” Wetzel said.

That's why they are asking those who are participating in spring cleaning at home to keep things at home until the organization is ready.

“Keep it in their garage, keep it in your seller wherever you are. Check our Facebook page, and when we’re ready to open, we’ll post and you can gladly bring it in,” Barnes said.

“When the stores are open and we’re fully running and firing on all cylinders, we will be glad to take the donations. Clothing, furniture, household goods and I’ll put them to good use. It supports men and women who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction,” Wetzel said.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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