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Closed thrift store says 'no donations for now'

One charitable organization in Luzerne County says it's receiving a little too much help and it's making a big mess.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The doors are closed at the Volunteers of America Thrift Store on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre as this division of the charitable organization has been deemed non-essential, but it has led to a big problem out back.

"Now that we are closed, people are still leaving their donations even though there are signs posted that we're closed and only able to accept donations during working hours, so it's really piling up since the staff isn't going in to process it all," said co-director of Wilkes-Barre programs Crystal Kotloswski.

Volunteers of America is a nonprofit that helps people in a time of crisis.

Crystal Kotlowski is the co-director for Wilkes-Barre programs for Volunteers of America. She says there isn't enough staff right now to handle this mess while running the organization's essential agencies.

"If you leave it, it becomes a hazard. It's out in the weather; pests can get into it, and then it's not usable for us anymore. So even if you have good intentions leaving it, we end up having to trash it, so it's not worth it in the end."

If you still want to help out Volunteers of America with its mission, folks with the organization tell Newswatch 16 that instead of leaving things that will only become trash, people should consider making a monetary donation or donating cleaning supplies.

"The thrift store helps to support all of these other agencies that we run to help vulnerable people, people who are experiencing homelessness or people who just have different types of needs. We have a baby pantry and all types of stuff that are still operating that need our attention," Kotlowski said.

So if you have any items you want to donate, Kotlowski has a recommendation.

"Hold on to it until we reopen. We're going to reopen; it's not a problem. We're happy to take the stuff on a normal day, just please work with us for the time being."

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