Thrift Store facing complaints

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In a Letter to the Editor published in this issue of the Times, some volunteers at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Kemptville have expressed their concern about how the administration of the store is being handled. It was not an easy decision to publish the letter, which was submitted almost a month ago, because, as the authors themselves say, no-one wants to disparage and interfere with the wonderful work done by Salvation Army employees and volunteers in our community.

Therefore, before publishing the letter, I contacted the writers and met with them to make sure they were not just disgruntled people with a personal grievance. Based on the meeting, and other documents I saw, I concluded that their complaints were justified, and this only confirmed what I have heard from others, and what I know from personal experience. The writers are by no means simply trying to stir up trouble; they have, it seems, legitimate and urgent issues to raise.

I also contacted the couple who are in charge of the work, seeking their response to the letter. Once again, let me say that no-one undervalues the work done in our community over more than a century by the Salvation Army. The fear is, not that the letter will hinder that work, but that, if allowed to continue, the attitude and actions of those at the top will damage the efficiency and effectiveness of what is being done on our behalf.

The letter writers believe they represent many of the volunteers who formed what they have called a really happy group working in the old Thrift Store location. But they were upset when they were not informed when the new store was opening nor that their help was needed; in spite of repeated efforts to contact the administrators.

If many of the volunteers have been alienated from a work they fully supported, and worked beyond duty to continue, then there is a danger that this work may run out of volunteers willing to put up with the issues raised in the letter.

No-one is happy that this has become public, but grievances have to be recognised and
resolved, for the future well-being of the work.

The administrators of the store have denied completely that there is any truth to the allegations. In a communication with the Times, they state that they would be disappointed to see the letter published in the Times. We all agree with that, but nothing should be swept under the carpet if it needs to be acknowledged and rectified. We trust that the motives and actions of all involved will be respected and that this can be resolved to the betterment of the work.

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