CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (KDKA) — Another victim of the Coronavirus has been thrift stores.
Donations continued to pour into the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Coraopolis and pile up over the last month while it’s been closed. They’ve been left to sit out in the elements and become an eyesore.
Load after load of the donations had to be thrown away outside the store into dumpsters. Volunteers even had heavy machinery on hand to clean it up.
“It creates an eyesore and a health hazard in the community. We want to be a good neighbor in the community,” store manager Carolyn Kintzing said.
Volunteers believe it started off as good intentions but it quickly became an overwhelming mess. Even with signs saying the store is closed, donations continued to be dropped off and pile up.
“Especially with that rainstorm and that hail, it all got ruined,” State Representative Anita Astorino Kulik (D-45) said.
“In trying to help it made a big mess,” volunteer Michele Santicola said after cleaning up the donations left behind.
It reached its boiling point with Coraopolis Mayor Shawn Reed when he got a text from a friend from in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after seeing the situation out there.
“Thought, ‘oh gosh that’s it.’ Just decided we were going to get this done,” he said while helping out.
Everything from furniture, to TVs, and boxes of clothes had to be thrown away.
The cost is still being figured out and who will pay for it. According to Mayor Reed, Coraopolis will not be footing the bill. He said some donors have come forward.
“We’re all for cleaning out your basement, but hold it to yourself until this ends,” Mayor Reed said.
“There will be plenty of people who need help. Just hold tight. Put it in your house and work around it,” Santicola said.
In about an hour the group of volunteers had everything picked up and in the dumpsters.
“Any of them would do anything for the community, and I think this really shows that,” Santicola said as she praised the volunteers.
Barricades and rope surround the parking lot.
Mayor Reed said if people continue to drop their things off, they could be charged.