Since May of 2012, Amy Gerard has worked endless hours at the Impact Life in Colusa County, thrift store in Colusa. The organization provides several aid opportunities for the community in addition to providing various pre-owned goods at affordable rates. While she doesn’t mind the long hours, she does mind the people who dump their trash and broken furniture at the store.
“Just last month we spent over $700 on dumping fees,” said Gerard, “we get a lot of broken furniture, couches, and mattresses. These big items that are expensive to haul away.”
Gerard said she gets an abundant of unsellable items – a couch without cushions, filthy mattresses, broken tables and other non-functioning equipment.
“We also get large televisions, computers, computer screens and printers,” said Gerard, “all of which doesn’t really sell. We normally just take these items to Ayala Recycling to be properly taken care of.”
Out with the Old, in with the new!
“It seems that every time there is a mattress sale, or furniture sale we receive a large amount of unwelcomed items,” said Gerard, “When I see a sale ad for furniture or mattresses, I cringe knowing that that after the weekend we will be busy with the cleanup.”
Several weeks ago, Gerard installed a security system to help deter the illegal dumping.
“I review the cameras every time we have an influx of illegal dumping and print out a photo of the of-fender,” said Gerard, “The photos are put up in the front window of the store, ‘Wall of Shame’, and if anyone identifies an illegal dumper they will be entered to win a $20 gift certificate to the Colusa Theatre.”
Three individuals have already been identified.
Once Identified the information is then passed on to the Colusa Police Department and the individual will be located and fined according to California Penal Code 374. Offenders can face a fine of $250 or more, and possible jail time depending on his/her record.
“Individuals can come into the store and turn themselves in to us, which is if they want to prevent any legal action,” said Gerrard, “We will charge them $20 to take their photo down, and the fee will help offset the dumping costs.”
The illegal dumping cause’s more than just blight, a mess and headaches for the not-for-profit organization.
Since 2002, Impact Life in Colusa County has been serving its residents by offering and participating in various programs that include: “The Princess Closet”, “Toys for Kids” (in participation with the ‘CHiPs for Kids Program), “Coats for Colusa County”, and the “Impact Life Food Bank”.
“With the influx of dumping fees, it’s going to be difficult to provide the necessary items for the Food Basket this year,” said Gerard, “Funding has been suspended from the state due to budget cuts, and we are still waiting on our funds from last year. The more money we spend on dumping fees is less food for the community.”
The Impact Life Food Bank accepts donations of non-perishable food and monetary donations; in addition, the organization applies for grants, and partners with local agencies and churches to help provide over 6,000 Colusa County residents with meals.
“The need for providing food boxes becomes greater and greater each passing year,” said Gerard, “sadly our boxes get smaller and smaller.”
“Many people are in need of our help, and we need to give a huge thank you to Save Mart Supermarkets of Vacaville for their generous support over the last several years” Said Gerard, “without their generous donations of non-perishable foods we would not be able to continue the current operations of the Food Bank.”
Impact Life in Colusa County has a general policy that all donations must be made during business hours. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays.
“The donation receiving doesn’t take very long,” Said Gerard, “we even will help you unload your do-nations to make it easier.”
The organization has looked into the possibly of installing a collection bin, or security gates to deter late-night drop-offs; however, liability is a bigger issue said Gerard.
Impact Life in Colusa County participates in providing stuffed animals for the Cuddles for Kids program at Colusa Hospital, Providing equipment for the Veterans of Foreign Affairs, Colusa Home Health sup-plies, Blankets for the Colusa County Animal Shelter, Gift Packages, and recently helped aid the Colusa Green Apartments fire victims by providing hotel vouchers, clothing, household items and food.
“I ask the community to take responsible care of their unwanted, unsellable items properly,” said Gerard, “Many receive FREE Dump Passes in their Water or Trash Bills. Don’t dump them in-front or behind our store.”
Impact Life in Colusa County is currently seeking non-perishable food donations for the food bank, men’s clothing sizes large and bigger. Monetary donations are also accepted.
For more information about donation regulations, or to make a donation to the Impact Life Colusa County organization visit Gerard at the store located at 541 Fremont Street, in Colusa or call (530) 458-5776.