A county Armagh charity shop has apologised for a ‘genuine mistake’ after a Facebook post slating the store went viral over the weekend.
The Drop Inn, Richhill have held their hands up to a human error after a doll , donated for their Christmas Shoebox Appeal, ended up on sale in store.
Sandra Barr, who spotted a doll she had donated on Friday afternoon, took to social media to complain, with her post being shared more than 4,000 times with hundreds of comments.
She posted on Facebook: “I was in the Drop Inn charity shop in Richill, I was there about a minute when I saw this wee doll on a shelf, I asked the lady in the shop where it came from, she said that someone had left it in, I informed her that no one left it in, and that it was my doll, and it was wearing an outfit I knit and crocheted.
“Last week I put this doll along with sweets, stationary and a colouring book in a shoe box and wrapped it up for the Drop Inn shoe box appeal.
“People donate shoe boxes full of goodies in the run up to Christmas, and the Drop Inn takes them to Eastern European countries and gives them to needy children, well, thats what they claim they do, obviously that is not what they do when the contents of my shoe box ended up for sale in a Drop Inn!”
She continued: “When I seen the doll I asked the manager of the Richhill Drop Inn to explain how an item that I donated to a needy child had ended up with a price tag in the drop inn, he said they open all the boxes and take certain things out, like prohibited items.
“He had no explanation as to why they had removed the doll. Overnight the Drop Inn shoe box appeal FB page contacted me and they pretty much reiterated what he had said.
“Thousands of people in Northern Ireland donate to the Drop Inn shoe box appeal, I really wanted to make them aware that certain items from their shoe box could end up for sale in the Drop Inn!”
However, Director of Drop Inn Ministries Ronnie Dawson, told Armagh I that the mistake was genuine and he will do everything to make sure anything like this will not happen again.
“It’s just over 48 hours since our organisation was made aware that a doll which had been placed in a Christmas Shoebox was removed from the box and offered for sale in one of our shops,” said Mr Dawson.
“We understand the frustration and disappointment that this has caused to the person who donated the Christmas gift. We know that this should not have happened and have apologised to the lady concerned.
“It is not our practice to remove items from Christmas boxes and offer them for sale.
“The facts as we have been able to ascertain so far are as follows: The Shoebox was donated into one of our shops last week. A vehicle was collecting stock from that shop to bring to our Richhill shop. The Shoebox was loaded with that stock. On arrival in Richhill, a volunteer inadvertently opened the box, priced the doll and placed it out for sale, in the understanding that it was part of the consignment of stock. Again we recognise this should not have happened but it was a genuine mistake by the person concerned. We will be doing everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“The cutoff date for our Shoebox appeal was 18th Nov.
“We can guarantee that all shoeboxes we received prior to that date will be in the hands of children this Christmas.
“It is impossible for us to deliver to foreign countries after this cutoff date. Next year our shops will be made aware of this and they will suggest that any donations after that date be donated to another charity who can use it in time for Christmas.
“Thanks again to everyone who helped make it possible to deliver a Christmas present to over 7000 children this Christmas and thanks for your understanding in this matter.”