Archive for Thursday, June 8, 1995

DONATIONS TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

June 8, 1995

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Spring cleaning yields a mountain of donations to city charities.

Spring cleaning has been a bit too bountiful for a Lawrence charity that distributes clothes, furniture and other items to the needy.

Penn House, 1035 Pa., has had to turn away donors this spring because its storage space is full, said Eleda Elston, a Penn House secretary.

She said some donors get angry when they are turned away, especially those who call ahead and are told there's room for their contributions. If they wait a day or longer, that space often disappears, Elston said.

"We just want to apologize for not being able to take the donations because of a shortage of storage," she said.

The Salvation Army and Disabled American Veterans also collect donated clothes and other items for the needy. Both of those organizations sell the items in thrift stores, whereas Penn House gives away its goods.

"It's pretty backed up right now," said Angie Martinez, who works at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, 1818 Mass. "Our garage is pretty much all the time full to the ceiling." But since some of the contributions are shipped to other Salvation Army locations in the Kansas City area, donors haven't been turned away, she said.

The Disabled American Veterans thrift shop in the Southern Hills Mall on 23rd Street is also swamped with contributions. It doesn't turn away donors, but doesn't accept everything they bring.

"We go through this every summer," said Sherie Doran, a sorter there. "We don't like turning anyone away so we just limit it."

At Penn House, Elston hopes donors who are turned away will be patient, hold on to their contributions and bring them back when space becomes available. Those with contributions should call ahead at 842-0440 to find out if there's space.

"We need their good used items because people can use them," Elston said.

A heavy influx of donations to Penn House and the thrift shops is typical in the spring and summer, when people clean house, hold garage sales and get rid of old items they no longer use.

Even though donations have filled its back rooms this spring, Penn House has no immediate plans to expand.

"We see no finances in the future to get a bigger place or even add on," Elston said. "There's no money."

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