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Oxford’s Salvation Army asking for help in preventing theft

With the changing of the calendar comes another holiday season filled with gifts of clothes and other items, which means it’s out with the old and in with the new.

The new finds its way into closets, while the old usually finds its way to donation centers, including Oxford’s Salvation Army center. January is a month where the center is filled with an abundance of donations, which has led to some people getting free items.

In most instances, people are dropping off items after the store has closed for the day and during the night, people are coming by and picking up those items that are placed by the door — a few instances have been captured by the Salvation Army’s surveillance camera. To alleviate the risk of people’s items that have been brought with good intentions becoming stolen property, the store wants to offer advice to donors.

“It’s kind of an ongoing (situation),” Miranda Mansell said. “If we have stuff sitting outside, it is exposed to not only the threat of the weather, but also if we have people who are looking for freebies. They know that it is sitting outside, so that is one of the reasons we ask people to bring items during business hours so we can ensure that they are brought into the store. Anything that is left outside we don’t have control of whether or not it actually makes it to its intended area.”

Mansell is the director at Oxford’s service center and this is her first January dealing with all the donations that come from across the area, not only in Lafayette County but surrounding counties.

While a few items have been taken away during the overnight hours, most donations have made it inside the center and to its intended area. Oxford’s center has plenty of clothes currently, but there are other items Mansell said they are always looking for.

“The most of what we get is clothing, so we’re never in a shortage of clothing,” Mansell said. “So, we’re continuing to ask people, ‘Please, by all means bring clothing.’ We do tend to sell better, your higher end (and) your boutique style items. …We are always looking for working appliances. We’re always looking for larger appliances such as stoves and dishwashers and refrigerators are one that we get a lot of requests for.”

Washers and dryers, along with furniture and working televisions, are items Mansell said people often come in looking for. All donations are tax deductible as well.

With the spring semester starting next week there will be plenty of students back in town who are in need of filling volunteer hours. Mansell said any and all people wanting to volunteer are welcome to help at her store, though she does require anyone interested to fill out a volunteer application form.

“We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of interest for volunteer opportunities,” Mansell said. “We are happy to have volunteers in the store. …We do have a lot of volunteer opportunities on a regular and ongoing basis. If there are church groups, community service groups that are looking for somewhere where they can roll their sleeves up we are happy to have them.”

Oxford’s center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.