To the Editor:
I love shopping at Wellspring. I bought my favorite shorts there this summer and wear them daily to garden. It’s my granddaughter’s favorite place to go when she visits, always going to the jewelry counter first even before the toys. Also, Wellspring does a huge amount of good for the community – its food pantry, GED program, Thanksgiving and Christmas help, and much more. So, you are probably asking yourself, why have I been banned from Wellspring? I have been classified as a troublemaker. And not only a troublemaker; I have been threatened with a restraining order by the police. And what, you are asking, was my crime? Caring too much about what was being thrown into their dumpster. I am not kidding.
I was outside weeding when a Hull police officer stopped me to say that if I came near Wellspring’s dumpster again, they would issue me a restraining order. Me, a 74-year-old “do-gooder.” I never even shoplifted as a kid. I did steal an apple once, but I digress. Why did they get so upset? Did I vandalize the building? No. Did I throw my bag of dog poop in their dumpster? No. Did I complain about what was being thrown away instead of being recycled? Yes. Of course, there is more to this story. There always is.
It started three years ago. I noticed many usable items being thrown away in the Wellspring dumpster. I reached in, took them out, and brought most of them to Goodwill. I kept the Robert Clergerie (made in France) shoes that happened to fit me perfectly and cost over $200 and wore them to Wellspring’s charity event that year. I wrote a letter and emailed it to a member of the board. She suggested I meet with the chairman of the board at the time, which I did. It did not go well. I reached out to Vinny, Wellspring’s director. That did not go well either. At that point, I was told not to remove anything from the dumpster, for my safety. I’m not sure how it got from me taking things from the dumpster to me actually being in the dumpster (see last week’s letter to the editor by Vinny Harte). But I assure you I would do many things to rescue usable items, but climbing into a 4½-foot dumper is not one of them.
I continued to walk my dog behind Wellspring and occasionally would use my camera to record what was being thrown out. My latest pictures show an abundance of cardboard boxes, which I, innocently, thought could be recycled. They do have a recycling bin on the property. Yes, I am one of those sticklers about recycling. We can all do our small part. And yes, I admit it: I can be a pain in the butt about it. Do I have rain barrels? Of course. Do I compost? Always. So, pointing out the cardboard in the dumpster did not seem like the crime of the century. I saw a young gentleman using the recycling bin, so I called him over to the dumpster and asked him about the cardboard in the dumpster. He said he put some in with mold but didn’t know about the other cardboard, but would find someone who would know. Later I would be told that I “had words” with a volunteer who is developmentally disabled; it was a respectful and calm conversation.
Then out came a staff person. Well, I certainly hit a nerve with this staff person. He came over to the dumpster, slammed the open lid down, and started yelling at me. I was to leave the property and never come back. And for good measure he called the police. I might have let it go if they hadn’t called the police. But really – the police.
Now the problem is to explain to my 7-year-old granddaughter why we can no longer go to Wellspring.