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Welcome to the Camp Blog:

Trash Trash Trash and did I mention TRASH?

The Franklin Hiawatha encampment is drowning in a sea of donations. Even though winter is approaching the camp is receiving boxes filled with summer clothes: flip flops, sandals, cotton tees, summer dresses - every day. That is not an exaggeration. It happens every day. Every. Day.

Food is the other item the camp receives far too much of. Don't get me wrong: hot meals or bagged lunches are welcome - but many foodstuffs received are not useful and end up being thrown in the trash. In the past 10 days the camp - which has no kitchen, no refrigeration, and no storage secure from rodents and raccoons - has received 25 cases of quarts of heavy cream, 6 cases of potato salad a week past its freshness date, case upon case of romaine lettuce, cases and cases of brown speckled bananas, literally thousands of plain hamburger buns and much much much more. It's completely overwhelming

The trash that piles up every day must be picked up by residents and volunteers, bagged when possible (piles of rotting food are hard to bag), and placed in the receptacles the generous souls at Public Works empty every day. But these days the receptacles are always full to overflowing which results in piles of trash around each receptacle - like the pile pictured below. Much - perhaps most - of this trash is food that cannot be used and inappropriate clothing that has been dropped off directly at the camp. Public Works employees and camp volunteers must rake or shovel this trash directly into the back of the dumpster trucks. Lets face it folks: it's gross.

Please think hard before bringing donations to the camp. Is it winter wear only? Can the food be consumed without cooking? Will the raw foods you bring attract pests?

Too many piles of trash surrounding the receptacles at the encampment create a public health hazard. Please help us keep the camp safe. When in doubt visit the Franklin Hiawatha Camp website and if you don't find the information you need send us an email. We know you want to help - and we appreciate it! But sometimes there CAN be too much of a good thing.

Clothes, clothes, and more clothes continue to be dropped at the encampment every day, despite calls to limit items to winter wear and bring to the drop centers listed on the website.

One of the trash piles around a receptacle on a Monday morning. Mondays are the toughest as lots of individuals and groups visit the camp on Sundays. Public works employees had to shovel this into the truck by hand as the bin was full and we ran out of contractor bags. It's hard to tell in the photograph, but much of this is clothing dropped directly at the camp that no one claimed. Unclaimed items must be thrown away daily due to lack of storage.

I wish this photograph wasn't blurry. This amazing woman comes to the camp and helps clean every day. Here she is holding up a high heeled summer sandal - just one of many clothing articles that have to be thrown away. Remember there is no storage at the camp - and folks needs boots, not sandals and flip flops.

About half of what was bagged and boxed on a recent Camp Clean Up. Residents and volunteers work hard to keep the camp clean and safe. You can sign up to participate in a Camp Clean Up on the website. Clean Ups happen every Saturday at 2:00 PM.

Posted by Camille

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