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Donations being dumped?

Altus_A former employee of the Altus Salvation Army says she refuses to be a part of an organization that would dispose of what she says are perfectly good donations, so she has resigned.  Deb Ashbaugh, the former thrift store manager, says a fire safety violation prompted removal of some of the store's donations, and she claims she was ordered to haul them out to the city dump.  While she agreed with her boss that the donations were piling up in the store, and a fire hazard, she didn't agree with how it was handled.

Ashbaugh showed 7News numerous pictures of clothing, toys, and household items she felt were in good condition.  Some were even new.  "I just cried because it was wrong - I know it was wrong," she said.  "I have a family to feed, I knew it was wrong.  But, I was following a direct order from my boss, until enough was enough."

Ashbaugh says she couldn't do the job of collecting donations any longer, knowing they wouldn't be put to good use.  "It's an awful feeling in your gut," she says.  She had originally planned for her resignation to take effect two weeks from now, but decided she couldn't take it anymore and made it effective immediately.

She says the man responsible is Salvation Army Captain Ronald Mott.  He declined to be interviewed and asked that 7News call his headquarters.  Ashbaugh says the community losing out on a valuable resource if they aren't able to take advantage of all the donations available to the Salvation Army. 

A worker at the thrift store, who preferred to remain anonymous, says he never heard Captain Mott tell any employee to dump donations.  The Salvation Army Regional Office says the are taking the matter very seriously.  Volunteers at the store say they are working hard to get the store ready to open. 

Salvation Army officials met on the matter Tuesday, and say they are investigating Asbaugh's claims.  They plan to address the situation in a public statement on Wednesday.  Count on 7News to keep you updated.

7News Reporter Neely Tsoodle

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