TORONTO — Sofia Grinshpun, manager of Jewish Family & Child’s (JF&CS) Just a Second Shop is puzzled.
She wants to know why her agency has to spend $2,000 every month disposing of the garbage that people dump in the store’s yellow bins, meant for gently used clothing.
That $2,000, she said, could be used to send 20 vulnerable kids to Jewish day and overnight summer camps, because all proceeds from the store are used to send these kids to camp.
JF&CS clients can “buy” necessities at the store for free, or at a 50 per cent discount if the item is not a necessity.
Jo Michaels, manager, marketing and communications at JF&CS said, “When we say garbage, we don’t mean stained or dirty clothing. That is actually collected by a company and we receive a small payment for it. We mean actual garbage – from ripped and ragged suitcases to dirty diapers.
“We have to pay a waste management company to come and empty the overflowing bin. If people stopped dumping garbage, we could empty the bin less than half as often.”
After a garage sale, she said, people bring items to the store that they could not sell. “They think we can take anything without discretion. It is a misconception, and it is disrespectful to leave items that are soiled or broken.
“Staff at the store is so busy, we hate to have them be garbage pickers as well. It is certainly not a good use of their time.”
Michaels said they request that items be in perfect shape. “We are very picky about what we display. When we get high quality donations, they fly off the rack.
“Before you bag up clothing and bring it in, think about whether you would buy it. We want people to shop with dignity. Sometimes emotions cloud judgment when they bring in clothing. They see memories of the person who wore it, but they don’t see the condition the clothing is in.”
She said that she would love to see the store rejuvenated. “It can use a facelift, but we’ve never had the budget to fix it up. We’d like to see Just a Second Shop become a cool, awesome thrift shop.
“It could be a great destination for shoppers, and all the money goes to a good cause. In a perfect world I would overhaul the whole store.”