Well-meaning community members donating goods to Katy Christian Ministries’ resale store outside of operation hours are unintentionally causing an unnecessary expense to the organization, representatives report.
The donation center has operating hours Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but people often drop off donations outside that time frame.
Sometimes when that happens, the donations are either picked-through or damaged by rain.
As a result, Katy Christian Ministries is left with unusable donations, which they then have to pay to remove.
City Council Member Janet Corte became aware of the issue after a constituent came to her and told her about the problem. “I wanted people to be aware of the issue because I really think people just don’t know” said Corte. “People come by, and they leave things out overnight, and then it rains or someone picks through it.”
Deysi Crespo, Executive Director added, “People are dropping off their household items outside of operating hours, and they’re left unattended, and they become damaged, and we can’t use them. We know people have the best intentions when they drop things off, so we decided that the best way to fix the problem is just by educating the public.”
When items are damaged, Katy Christian Ministries has to dispose of the items, either by putting them in a dumpster, or in some cases, taking them directly to a landfill.
Crespo reported that in a two-and-a-half-year time span, Katy Christian Ministries spent $26,699 in dumpster and landfill costs.
That number only includes the dumpster fee and landfill fee. It doesn’t include the mileage or staffing costs. “It takes two staff members per trip because they have to go in pairs,” said Crespo.
“That amount of money could pay someone’s salary,” Crespo said.
The best way to resolve the issue is for donors to drop off their items within the donation center’s operating hours.
It also helps if the community is aware of what items the ministry can and cannot take. Bedding items like mattresses, stuffed animals, or furniture that is damaged or broken cannot be donated.
Katy Christian Ministries’ board member Patti Lacy explained, “The best way to think of it is, donate something that you would give to your neighbor. Because really, we’re neighbors helping neighbors.”
Beyond the cost of after-hours donations, Crespo noted that weather-damaged items piled up over the weekend detract from the overall beauty of the city.
“A lot of things that have taken place here to beautify the city. We are in the heart of Katy, and we also want to present ourselves within that same model, that we want to look good in the community, and we take pride in being here serving the community locally,” she said.
Crespo noted that the ministry is grateful for the donations, and the issue is also important because Katy Christian Ministries’ wants to be respectful of the generosity of the community by making sure the donations do the most good.
“If it wasn't for the donations that come in from our own community members, a resale store wouldn't exist today. We depend on the inventory that is donated, and donors always have good intentions for a great cause, so it is our role to be good stewards of these in-kind donations and the funding it generates,” she said.
Mayor Bill Hastings expressed his gratitude for the donation, and he believes the problem will be ameliorated if people adhere to the business hours.
Hastings said, “I would like to thank the Katy community for the last 35 years of giving to Katy Christian Ministry through donations or volunteer hours. The community’s generosity helps KCM operate all their wonderful programs. However, please be mindful of the hours of operation when dropping off your donations at the First Street resale location. It's very important for the donations that KCM receives to be in good shape for the next person to purchase for their home or even as a gift for someone else. When items are left out in the weather, they become damaged and have to be disposed of properly, which cost sthe ministry thousands of dollars I would like to thank everyone in advance for following KCM's guidelines.”
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Katy,” added Lacy, “We just don’t want the hard work and generosity to be ruined because it was dropped off after hours.”
Christina Wiggins, Resale Store Manager, added, “By avoiding the costs of the after hours drop offs, that’s more money we can save and help more families.”
For more information on Katy Christian Ministries and its donation center or to donate, visit www.ktcm.org.