REDUCE, reuse and recycle is a slogan gaining momentum, but charity stores in Tamworth are being overhwelmed with donations as locals struggle with 'reducing'.
That's the view of Salvation Army Captain Harriet Farquhar, who said the family store in Tamworth had been closed for 10 weeks as staff do a "full reset", after being overwhelmed with donations.
"In 2021 in Australia, people have a whole lot of stuff and it's really easy for people to go and buy clothes and bits and pieces," she said.
"We love people giving us their stuff, but there is only so much that we can manage."
What started as 'COVID clean-outs' quickly became an ongoing situation, and Ms Farquhar said the store had to shut down because staff were getting slammed.
"The closure is going to have a major impact on our ability to work with the community, but our volunteers are worth so much that we felt that we needed to do that," she told the Leader.
"With the sheer volume of donations it just becomes a difficult work environment ... it's no longer acceptable to say you have to make do with second best."
During the closure - which was expected to last until mid-March - Ms Farquhar said staff had been busy clearing clutter and installing safety equipment for volunteers.
She said her biggest hope for the store's reopening would be for the community to be respectful and caring.
"People are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances and some generosity and some kindness would just go a little bit further," she said.
"We're happy to accept feedback, but when it's accompanied by curse-words and anger, it's a difficult operating environment."
She said there are some easy things customers and supporters can do to make the store productive for everyone.
"My great desire is that people don't come with their trailer loads of donations hour after hour ... that's just so we don't get in a position where we become overwhelmed again," she said.
"If you wouldn't give it to a friend, don't give it to us, and I would add to that and say if you didn't pay very much for it, we won't be able to get very much for it."
Ms Farquhar said staff and volunteers are excited to get back to the store and have a fresh start.
Despite the lengthy shutdown, Ms Farquhar said there was plenty of winter goods to sell for a bargain when the doors reopened.
Vinnies in Peel Street and St John's Op Shop are accepting donations.
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