Soccer gear found in London dumpster sparks criticism, then donation efforts
Lambeth Youth Soccer's president said they tried their best to donate all they could
Teacher Dawn-Marie Deagle says her husband was packing up after a baseball game at Ralph Hamlyn Park in Lambeth last Sunday when he saw a pristine bag of soccer balls in a dumpster.
She thought it would be a good idea to donate the balls to a local school, but when she went to pick the bag of balls out of the dumpster, it became clear that much more was going to waste.
"I was angry at first because I've taught at some tougher schools where that soccer equipment would have been very much appreciated," she said.
Deagle found over 100 jerseys, unopened bulk packs of socks, expired but still usable first aid kits, cones, soccer balls, and other equipment in the dumpster.
"We couldn't compute it. My 16-year-old son was really baffled that people would just throw these things out and not even try to donate them anywhere. We've since learned that they did make an effort to donate it, so it wasn't what we saw," said Deagle.
The dumpster was being rented by Lambeth Youth Soccer (LYS), a volunteer-run organization that helps hundreds of kids learn the game each year. The group's president said the gear in the dumpster was from its storage locker at the Lambton Community Centre, which had to be cleared out for demolition.
Roxanne Persaud said she and others did donate as much as they could but were limited because some of the equipment was rotten or expired. Another issue was that one sponsor, whom Persaud could not name for contractual reasons, did not want gear donated with the company logo displayed.
"We're eight volunteers. I hope that speaks for itself. We run a club of 940 kids," she said. "I do feel bad about the way it looked. But man, I hope people know we really do try our best to be responsible with our equipment and reuse the equipment."
She said the group sent messages to two dozen people to take the equipment, many of whom did.
"We had about 25 or 26 emails that had gone out to people we thought could accept the things and so many people got back to us and we delivered them all that we could," Persaud said.
Deagle thinks LYS didn't go far enough. After making the discovery, she got on the phone to make inquiries both with LYS and other potential donors.
She said she was told the Boys and Girls Club in London declined to take any equipment, but when she called, they were happy for the donation.
Another group working with the Cross Cultural Learners Centre was also keen to accept the soccer gear.
"There's a disconnect here and I don't fault Roxanne [Persaud] if she's not aware," said Deagle. "But it would be nice if there was an easier way to make sure donations reach the right people."
A primary sponsor for LYS is Tim Hortons, and it does allow local clubs to donate clothing branded with their logo. Persaud said when she called her usual contact with Goodwill, they refused to accept a donation of Tim Hortons branded clothing and equipment.
Employees at several Goodwill locations in the London area have told CBC News, they do accept and welcome donations of branded clothing.