The empty freezer and food storage space are concerning, the decrepit wall coming down in the front room of The Lord’s Storehouse is definitely a problem, and the constant need for volunteers weighs heavily on the mind of Lavonne Carrington, Main Street Ministries director. But the trash dump that appears almost weekly in the front entrance of the Hillsboro facility is the most frustrating part of her job.
“I’ve always appreciated when people donate a good bed or couch when we need it,” Carrington said. “But lately it seems people think this is the place to dump their junk that didn’t sell at the garage sale, or their nasty used and broken things that they are too lazy to haul to the dump.”
On Monday afternoon Carrington, her grandson Chris Schafers, and Main Street Ministries board president Dale Nuss spent several hours cleaning up and hauling off someone else’s mess. They loaded obsolete computers, broken television sets, an unusable baby crib, part of a table, army boot-camp learning cards, and bags of smoke-smelling, cat-urine stained clothing out of the front entrance bay of The Lord’s Storehouse and onto a trailer destined for the Marion County transfer station in Marion.
“Nobody wants to use this stuff,” Carrington said. “This happens all the time and it’s just disrespectful. The people we are helping here don’t want to sleep on pee-stained mattresses or give their children broken toys. People just need to haul their own junk to the dump.”
Carrington said she put up a sign a few months ago that asked donators to call her before offering any non-food items to the ministry, but no one used the number.
“I am so very grateful for the wonderful support we get from the community in food and money donations,” she said. “We are not connected in any way to state or government funding and are fully supported by the community. I just wish some people would find another way to be generous with their junk. It takes us a lot of time to get rid of it and clean it up each week.”
Carrington said Main Street Ministries operates 12 fully equipped apartments for people in need.
“Our sojourners attend classes on parenting, building trade skills, shopping wisely, and even religious instruction,” she said. “We keep them very busy rebuilding their lives. We don’t have the time or the facilities to clean up dirty clothing or fix broken furniture.”
Volunteers provide all labor at the ministry for building repairs and need is high for painting, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical help. Unless the message gets through that Main Street Ministries does not accept junk, there will be a continued need for cleanup help. Hopefully, that will change.