Despite security cameras and surrounding fencing installed to stop people from dumping garbage items and stealing donated items, the North Kent Service Center, 10075 Northland Drive, continues to use precious dollars and staff time cleaning up.
According to John Leale, warehouse manager at the center, 99 percent of the items dumped at the center on the weekends are trash. Security cameras are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but have not proven a deterrent to the behavior.
Director Sandy Waite said there are plenty of open hours, but people continue to show up on weekends when the center is closed. They leave items and pick through donated items to take things they like. The center is open for donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the last Saturday of every month—with the exception of December—and is always closed on Sundays. If it rains or items get wet, even nice donations are ruined. “We do get many generous donations, but if they are wet and could mildew, we can’t bring them into the building. We have food in here and have no facility for drying them out. Waite said the staff spends 45 minutes every Monday removing items left while the center is closed on Saturday or Sunday.
The center is open for business 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and donations are welcome. Waite said she pulled into the center recently and found a woman packing items into her vehicle. “You aren’t taking that are you?” She asked the woman, who said she was. Waite told her that was stealing and the woman said a person who had just dropped the items said the center throws things out anyway so she might as well take what she wanted. “I told her that wasn’t true,” said Waite.
Waite said these days there is a lot going on at NKSC. On Thanksgiving we provided food baskets for 246 families totaling 1,347 individuals.
In the holiday season, Thankgiving and Christmas, the center provided food baskets for 5,136 individuals.
The center has a Christmas store which allows people to chose items, and donations needed for Christmas and throughout the year, include the following items:
Books, toys, underwear, socks, mittens, hats, scarves
and stocking stuffers
One clothing item: coat, dress, pants, shirts, etc., they can only choose one clothing piece for each child.
While families shop, volunteers and staff put together a Christmas meal for them to take home to prepare. They try to include the following in each family’s food box:
Chicken, ham, or turkey (depending on the size of the family). mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, vegetables, dinner rolls , cranberries , sweet potatoes and some type of dessert
The center helps our neighbors in need year around and relies heavily on donations. Nearly 2,000 children are signed up for Toys for Tots scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at Our Lady of Consolation Church.