Augusta Community Caring Center asking for donation thefts to stop
AUGUSTA, Kan. (KWCH) - For the last 35 years, the Augusta Community Caring Center has worked to make sure their neighbors in need have a place to turn for some of the necessities.
“People are glad for the help. They are just glad for the help,” Co-Director of the Center John Pilcher said.
The Caring Center runs a pantry and utility support program for those needing help in Augusta, along with racks full of clothes and household items they provide to people in Butler County for free.
“Slacks, dresses, kids clothing, baby stuff. Toys, we get toys and one of our volunteers will take it home, wash it up and bring it back,” Pilcher said.
The Caring Center is dependent on donations and volunteers to meet the need in the area. They keep a donation collection bin unlocked so people can drop off new and gently used clothes and household items when the center is not open.
“All of this is donated that way,” said Pilcher. “Every bit of it. We don’t buy clothes. We receive all of these clothes and some of it’s pretty nice.”
Pilcher said every month, their pantry gives out 100 boxes of food working with their local grocery stores. With COVID-19, they’re also working to provide food to those that need it.
Pilcher said, “The reward for everything else that I do down here is sitting behind that desk and telling somebody, ‘yes, I can help you.’”
However, a string of recent thefts from their donation drop off has the center disheartened.
“We’re, to be quite honest, we’re tired of it,” Pilcher said.
He went on to say, “July 1st, after we closed at four o’clock, from there till midnight, four times people came and took stuff out of our donation bin. July 2nd, one of those people came back at eight o’clock in the morning and did it again.”
Pilcher said often what they find is the backs ripped open and the clothes tossed around, which can lead to some of the donations being destroyed.
“[I] don’t understand why people can’t come by when we’re open and get this stuff for free,” Pilcher said. “Throw stuff around and take what they want and leave, then we have to go out there and clean it up. If you leave the donation open, the rain, if we get rain, we loss everything else that’s in there.”
Pilcher said they’re reporting these incidents to police and while not pressing charges, the people doing this will be banned from the Center’s services.
“If we can identify them, they’re not welcomed down here again, for anything. That’s kind of a hard stance and six months down the road, I may change my mind,” said Pilcher.
His main request is for a show of respect and to work with them in achieving something good in their community.
Pilcher said, “Please don’t make extra work for us. Please don’t assume that you have the right to steal whatever you want and deprive anyone else of those goods.”
Pilcher said the Center just wants to focus on providing help to those in need.
“We’re proud of our facility here.”
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