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Charity Collections

Original post made by resident on Sep 16, 2009

Be aware, whilst walking earlier today my friend told me a woman had rummaged through and then taken the bags which she had left out for Haven of Peace, she then saw her taking bags from another house.
During our walk we came upon this woman and asked whether she was collecting on behalf of the charity. She answered no, we pointed out that therefore she was stealing whereupon she repllied that she was only taking it to send to poor families in Mexico.
These are hard times and I would like to think that that is what she is doing, however, I personally think it unlikely.

Comments (23)

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Call the police and report her.

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm

If those things that someone bagged as unwanted can be a treasure to someone else, who cares!?!

Word of advice -- if you want the goods to actually make it to the charity of your choice, deliver them yourself. Otherwise, be thankful someone finds them attractive enough to "steal."

Geeze, don't you people have anything better to worry about than someone other than a licensed charity taking stuff you have essentially thrown away?

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 16, 2009 at 6:39 pm

My general feeling has always been that whatever I put out to be taken away may be taken by whomever wants it. Anything else would be selective charity, and selective charity is too often more about the giver than the receiver.

That being said, I'd hate to think that those items were being resold somewhere.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I wouldn't mind so much if they left me a receipt for tax purposes...... ;-)

Posted by Grace, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I hate to say this, but I think someone already pointed this out on the "How is recycling supposed to work" thread: look for more folks coming out before dawn in hopes of collecting items that can be gathered and sold, once the recycling bins are in place.

Having lived in Oakland, this was a weekly phenomenon. I don't begrudge them, I'm just saying this will happen, so don't be surprised when it does.

If people are ambitious and motivated enough, that's great. You just might want to start locking your cars at night, if you don't already do so.

- from experience, no malice intended

Posted by m, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:19 am

When I lived in Piedmont this was a problem. The only downside is the rise in theft that occured. Bikes left unattended, open garage doors, etc. I know, people should lock up your stuff, but when intruders become part of the landscape, it's hard to keep a "neighborhood watch".

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2009 at 9:15 am

My neighbor peeks through the stuff we put out early in the morning, and then nervously looks around to see if anyone saw her. Twice, two my knowledge, she has removed items from the bag. I am sure she thinks that no one knows, but I have seen her do it every time we have made a donation. I am actually OK with that, as I would prefer to see it used than in the landfill.

Posted by Claudette McDermott, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

A sign of the times... but I'm OK with someone taking my donations if they want or need them once I put them on the sidewalk."One mans trash, another mans treasure."

I just don't want anyone coming onto my porch to take something and I feel that is the next step. Sometimes these charities ask you to leave them on the porch. Perhaps there should be a drop off area for these charities like the Mormon church, they have a container in their parking lot for donations.

Yes locking doors and windows are a necessity these days.

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 17, 2009 at 10:56 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

I hope you guys don't live around me. You realize that you're condoning and basically encouraging THEFT?!?! Taking stuff that ain't yours is supposed to be frowned upon, not blithely ignored. By not reporting this to the authorities, you're essentially inviting criminals and vagrants to raid the neighborhood garbage cans. Once they're in the neighborhood, there is no guarantee that they won't expand their rummaging to garages and backyards.

And the word will spread about which neighborhoods allow such foraging, and then we'll have a real crime spree on our hands.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Parent of Two -- Are you serious? How can items one has essentially "kicked to the curb" being taken by someone who has a use for them be considered THEFT? If they took them from your garage, or off the front porch of your home, I'd agree. But once placed on the PUBLIC SIDEWALK they become PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Or, are we narrow-minded enough in Pleasanton these days to think we also own the sidewalks in front of our homes?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 17, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


If they take the items left out for a charity, it is considered theft from the charity. If the items are recyclables left out for PGS, it is theft from PGS. Example: Web Link

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 18, 2009 at 3:37 am

I have a contractor friend that re-modeled offices in SF. They would leave all their junk on the sidewalk over night with a "Please Do Not Take" sign attached. They very seldom needed a trip to the Refuse Center...

He said "they" even took small pieces of drywall...:)

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:51 am


I do not disagree with your position, nor the article, when speaking of items left in a recycling bin. I would also agree with your position on charity items IF they are clearly marked for a given charity.

Me, take my charitable donations to the charity of my choice. Too bad others are to lazy to do the same and sanction littering the sidewalks.

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 18, 2009 at 8:53 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Since you're in Gatetree, I'll make sure all the vagrants and homeless and needy find their way to your neighborhood. I guess rooting through garbage cans and recycling bins and curbside bags for charity are fair game over there.

Have you consulted your neighbors about this?

Posted by Sally, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:15 am

If you truly want to donate to people in need.
I strongly suggest You take the donations to their destinations yourself to avoid any further hassles.
Otherwise, leave it be, that individual must need the items more than anyone else, enough so to steal. Very sad, but we are living in difficult times.
You can't complain that she is attempting to survive.
You may as well complain about the bums begging for change in front of the stores, and the people that go through apartment building trash to find cans so they can survive.

I'd rather complain about the greedy people who dont want to work and are perfectly capable of getting a job, that have a masters degree..... instead they live off of tax payer dollars and other reliable sources so they can sit on their bums all day and plan vacations.... Oh, dear, must be talking about the neigbors Ex Wife! haha

Be concerned about giving. Don't be concerned about real people attempting to survive the best way they can. Be upset with those who are lazy and don't have a Christian Heart.

Enjoy your day with peace and kindness.

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

Parent of Two -- Feel free to send them our way. We'll be more than happy to direct them to sleeping quarters under the bleachers at Amador too!

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:41 am

Well stated, Sally! Clearly you get my point.

Posted by Helen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

Last year, I pulled up in my driveway to find a elderly Asian man going through the donation bags. All of the clothes that I folded (4 large trash bags full) nicely to give to the charity were in a big heap on my driveway. He walked away as I pulled up and proceeded to go across the street to a neighbors house to look through their bags. I called the NON-Emergency line at PPD not knowing if this was against he law and I was informed that it was. If you have a tag on the bag for the charity then it is for the charity. If anyone takes anything from the bag it is theft as well as tresspassing with intent to steal. They sent out an officer and I don't know if the guy was caught.

I think I would have compassion for the person if they asked permission to look through the clothes or went through the bags carefully, not leaving a mess for me to clean up and refold. Please call and report this if you see it!!!!

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

No, I'll not call the police if this is all that is happening. If someone is in dire enough straits that they need to go through our discards to make a living, then they've got enough problems without the police hassling them.

Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.


That is naive and dangerous. If they're in dire enough straits to go through your discards, they're in dire enough straits to go through your car or your house. Or your neighbor's house.

You're not being compassionate. You're being ignorant and putting your family and your neighbors at risk. Why not invite them into your house to rifle through your stuff?

Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2009 at 9:39 am

I agree with "Parent of Two":

The type of people would steal items CLEARLY MARKED for pick up (by charity) are not the type of people I want loitering around my house. I never leave donations outside for pick-up because (1) I don't want the items stolen and (2) I don't want to alert unscrupulous people to what I might have inside the house.

There are plenty of charitable organizations who will help people in need via free-meals, clothing, even shelter. I smell a rate if this same people refuse to go to such an organization for help. That's also the reason why I don't give money to homeless people on the street. Too many of them just want it for booze or cigarettes. I'll donate my time at a shelter or make a charitable donation, but I generally don't donate directly to the person.

Posted by Tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I myself don"t intend to put the things that can be sold ( Al. Cans Plastic Bottles) in the new recycle can those I will take to the dump myself.( I just now received my new small recycle can . This is such a joke.) I was told that center would still be open. If someone takes my donations for a charity. They are welcome to them.

Posted by dear, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Dear parent of Two..
Not all needy people are homeless or vagrant. I would also assume the people going through charity bags (left in front of your house in daylight) are not the same people that are going to break into your home and take stuff worth real money. Seriously where did you come from? Of course this is not true for all. If thieves think people in Pleasanton have money and valuables in their homes, that is what is going to draw them here. Not the bags of unwanted stuff left curbside.

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