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Helping Hands fends off trash, thefts
ARLINGTON Helping Hands of Arlington welcomes donations of usable goods, but its all-volunteer staff is tired of being dumped on, literally.
Weve come in to find garbage stretching from the patio to the fence, said Shirley Cochinella, the groups secretary. Two weeks ago, we found 27 TV and computer monitors, most of them broken, had been dropped off here.
Helping Hands cannot accept TVs, computers, microwaves, stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, tires, batteries or anything thats been broken, but they continue to find all these items, and more, sitting outside their building on a daily basis.
If it doesnt work, dont bring it, said Lana Lassley, the groups vice president. We accept usable and gently-used items, but it should be the sort of things that youd be willing to use yourself, or give to your family members. We get cooking pans with their Teflon completely stripped off and filthy, worn-out shoes with no laces.
Helping Hands has barely more than half a dozen volunteers to sort through the donations they receive. The proceeds from the sale of donated items go directly to local organizations such as the Arlington Boy Scouts and Cocoon House.
Lassley lives closer to the building, which is owned by the city of Arlington, than many of her fellow volunteers, who come from Marysville and Camano Island, so she often resorts to patrolling the site to check for both garbage dumps and thefts of dropped-off donations.
Theyll trash the place, Lassley said. Thieves have ripped open plastic bags of clothes and strewn stuff all over, just to get some things that they wanted.
Lassley expressed pride in providing affordable shopping for families in need, but she admitted that the number of unusable donations, such as dirty and torn clothes, have left her feeling dismayed.
We want to do good work here, Lassley said. We take pride in helping people.
Helping Hands is located at 127 W. Cox Ave. in Arlington and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Call them at 360-435-2214.