The month-long closure of a second-hand store has created a mess on Thunder Bay's south side and is posing a problem for local charities.

Volunteer Linda Gail Bruins said she and others collected 30 bags of garbage, plus mattresses and couches just this week.

The group volunteers at the Thunder Bay Food Bank, located next to a south-side thrift store that's closed for summer vacation.

"I think what we have to do is make people aware that if you take the stuff down to donate it — and there's nobody there — and you leave it in the yard, you may as well just throw it in the dump," she said.

"It's costing charities a lot of money to keep trucking it back and forth to the dump. And I'm sure the people who have put stuff out there have really good intentions. There was some nice stuff there. But, once it was rained on, it was trash."

Frequent trips to the landfill

The problem isn't unique to one charity.

Janet Madsea lists off just a couple of the items drivers with the Diabetes Clothesline pickup and then bring to the landfill on a regular basis, including "unwanted furniture, broken furniture."

The operations manager said the charity has 27 bins around the city to collect clothes and soft items like towels and shoes.

Madsea said some days, the charity has to keep going back to the same location to pick up garbage.

"The landlord will call us and we have to go there — maybe three or four times — due to the dumping. We're also going to the landfill and it does cost the association money to clean out the drop boxes and the surrounding areas," she said.

Both women concur it's everybody's responsibility to try and keep areas that take donations clean. Madsea recommends people call 623-0887 instead of leaving items at bins, or visit the Diabetes Clothesline website.