In­side char­ity cloth­ing bins


Ev­ery Tues­day morn­ing at St Vin­nies in Welling­ton, Rangi Jury swings open the cloth­ing bins, pops his knees and head in­side and un­hooks the Santa sacks.

There’s no telling what’s buried deep in­side, ev­ery week it’s a lucky dip. To­day is no dif­fer­ent.

‘‘Did some­one say we had two bags of rub­bish this morn­ing?’’ asks Jury’s col­league, Sarah Ford.

In all fair­ness it was re­cy­cling, but two green bags filled with house­hold junk – pa­per scraps, used cans and plas­tic bits were ‘‘do­nated’’ next to the bins.

‘‘I don’t think peo­ple re­alise that we have to pay for our rub­bish,’’ Ford says.

‘‘It’s been bet­ter in re­cent months, with peo­ple do­nat­ing rub­bish. Not as bad as it was in the sum­mer.’’

Peo­ple who have done ren­o­va­tions in their house have been known to use the bins as a dump­ing ground for leftovers, Jury says.

‘‘Of­f­cuts of tim­ber, saw­dust and ev­ery­thing you can imag­ine. No body parts,’’ he says with a grin.

Store su­per­vi­sor Mike East found $40 in a shirt pocket just the other day, which was a rather nice do­na­tion.

Once the sacks are loose, Jury drags them onto a fork­lift, where they’re de­liv­ered to the up­stairs sort­ing area, where East and sev­eral vol­un­teers weed out the gems from the junk.

The room is dot­ted with boxes of preloved teddy bears and stacks of printed pil­low cases which await their next home. They sit next to half-pairs of shoes and faded board shorts, which await a trip to the tip.

About 10 per cent of what ar­rives in the char­ity bins is too stained, ripped, or faded to sell, so ends up as rags.

The rags are sent to a com­pany, which pays the char­ity store by vol­ume, so ev­ery­thing is used.

Cloth­ing is sorted onto racks up­stairs where store man­agers from across the city pick out what they’d like.

It helps if store man­agers chose what goes to their store, Ford says.

‘‘Be­cause of the dif­fer­ent ar­eas - like the Aro Valley shop has more of a stu­dent-y vin­tage sort of vibe, so they pick out the things that would work in their area.’’

Jury then loads up the van with the cho­sen loot and runs it out to stores, where the cloth­ing is priced and left to the mercy of bar­gain hunters across the city.

Sarah Ford with the ‘‘Santa’s sacks’’ the come out of cloth­ing bins.

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