The south side of the Burlington Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center, 248 S. Pine Street, is littered with hundreds of donated items – many dropped off after hours – on Nov. 9. Although the mess was cleaned up a week later, officials with the Salvation Army and the City of Burlington urge people to make donations only when the store is open. (Submitted photo)

Salvation Army asks people to donate only during business hours

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

The Burlington Salvation Army store, 248 S. Pine Street, has experienced an overwhelming volume of donations that caused concern for city officials in recent weeks.

Gregory Guidry, City Building Inspector, said the concerns stem from people dumping donations at the side of building when the store is not open. The practice created a large, unsightly mess that was difficult for the organization to handle.

“The problem is overwhelming for them,” Guidry said on Nov. 13. He indicated the city began working with the Salvation Army early this month to mitigate the excessive clutter.

A short time later, the city posted a notice on its Facebook page, stating Burlington officials diligently helped clear the area of excess clutter and unneeded items.

“This week, the Salvation Army has been bringing in more of their collection trucks to save what they can and will bring in large dumpsters to dispose of enormous amounts of trash,” the city states.

Capt. Kevin Staneart, of the Salvation Army, said an influx of donations as well as reduction in workforce because of COVID-19 restrictions at the Milwaukee distribution center played a role in the issue.

Officials from the Milwaukee distribution center are responsible for picking up donations at each store to bring back for processing.

Staneart, an administrator, said on Tuesday the Milwaukee distribution center typically employs 100 people.

But because of COVID-19 restrictions, and to accommodate social distancing, the Salvation Army had to reduce staffing to 50 during the pandemic.

“For personnel reasons, we had to have half of the people we used to have, which makes it more difficult for us to process all of that,” said Staneart. “For that reason, we are asking people to only donate during the times the store is open.”

The Burlington Salvation Army operates 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturday.

To read the complete version of this story see the Nov. 19 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.