PENDLETON - It's a mess. That's obvious to the Salvation Army and the public.
What can be done about the overflowing donation area behind the Salvation Army Thrift Store in west Pendleton? For starters, no donations of clothing are being accepted for now.
"We will accept donations like furniture, kitchen appliances and other hard goods - anything other than clothing," Salvation Army employee Sandy Ball said. "We just don't have any room for it all."
The massive outpouring of donations is a mixed blessing because some donations have to be moved straight to the Dumpster. The moratorium on clothes donations will likely last a couple weeks.
"This is not something new. This happens during the summer time," said Salvation Army Capt. Shane Halverson. "We do appreciate the donations, and the money goes right back into the community."
The Salvation Army is holding a yard sale outside the thrift store in an effort to move the donations faster and allow the back of the building to be cleaned up. Prices will be lowered.
In addition, "No Trespassing" signs have been posted by the non-profit organization in hopes of cutting down on theft and prevent people from rummaging through the donations that have been left in the back of the building.
According to Ball, it is common for workers to spend "up to two hours in the morning before we can open the store because of the goods that have been scattered all over the lot by people."
To add to the stress, the warehouse in the back of the store is half-filled with clothing, even though it's not intended for clothing.
Dumping of poor quality donations or just plain garbage continues to be a problem.
"We have people trying to dump their personal garbage here," said Ball. "They actually use the Salvation Army as a dump. You would be amazed at what is dropped off."
Everything from televisions that do not work to shirts that are so dirty workers deem them unusable are commonly dropped in the back regularly.
"One-third of the donations we receive are not sellable," said Ball.
Using the Salvation Army as a junkyard exacerbates the overflow dilemma, she noted.