Bev Lewis, manager of the Sooke Family Resource Society Community Thrift Store, says valuable time and resources are wasted disposing of items the store does not accept. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

Bev Lewis, manager of the Sooke Family Resource Society Community Thrift Store, says valuable time and resources are wasted disposing of items the store does not accept. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

COVID shrinks thrift store resources

Unwanted items a growing problem

The pandemic has posed its share of challenges for the Sooke Family Resource Society Community Thrift Store.

The store has been forced to limit the hours of operation and the times donated items are accepted due to restrictions arising from COVID 19, said Bev Lewis, who has managed the store at 6715 West Coast Rd. since it opened in 2015.

“Because of the public health regulations, all donations have to be stored for 72 hours before they can be sorted,” she said. “The public health regulations have also limited our hours to 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only. Everything we do, especially sorting and cleaning, takes more time because of COVID.”

Lewis stressed that a major concern is the time lost and expense involved in disposing of items the thrift store does not accept.

“It costs us time and money to dispose of them, and that money could be put to much better use,” she said.

The list of items not accepted includes skis and ski boots, bike, motorcycle and hockey helmets, car seats and booster seats, ripped, torn, or stained furniture, high chairs, playpens, broken appliances or those more than seven years old, old televisions, electrical items with frayed cords, cribs, mattresses, old computers, pianos, encyclopedias, VHS and cassette tapes and hazardous items.

The Sooke Family Resource Centre (SFRS) has assisted families in need from Sooke to Port Renfrew since 1984 through various services, including early years programs for young children, childcare resources and referrals, youth and family services, counselling, and programs for adults with disabilities.

The “amazing” support from the community and the dedicated efforts of the volunteers is invaluable, said Nicki Logins, executive director for the Sooke Family Resource Society.

She cited as an example the effort of the Sooke Lions Club, which provided and installed a platform and tent at the back of the store last year to help store items.

“It’s been extremely helpful during the winter,” she said.

Visit the SFRS Community Thrift Store Facebook page for information on hours of operation, auctions, and other special events such as garage sales, or check out online.

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