An abundance of generosity on the one hand and a lack of consideration on the other have left the Salvation Army in Barrie with an expensive clean-up.

“It’s frustrating, very frustrating.”

Staff and volunteers at the charity have spent hours cleaning the back of the thrift shop on Tuesday after arriving to find bags of donations from the weekend torn open and tossed across the parking lot.

Joan Harper says it’s no way to start the work week. “We had to climb over garbage to get into our back door this morning.”

And Harper says this isn’t a rare occurrence.

Every weekend donations are dropped off when the store is closed, and then they are ransacked.

“They rip open all our clothing bags, all our housewares bags, and they leave it everywhere,” she says.

Volunteer Al Penfield says he’s just come to expect it each week.

“Everything that was sellable now has to be either thrown in the garbage or recycled because it was just trashed.”

It can cost The Salvation Army roughly $1,000 every two weeks to empty the dumpster to dispose of donations they can no longer sell. Captain Stephanie Watkinson says that bill eats into revenue for their shelter downtown.

“Yes, we provide low-cost items to people, but we also generate income that then supports our mission down on Bayfield, providing food and shelter,” she explains.

Staff say the only way to stop the looting is to encourage people to donate only when the store is open.