Drop Inn doll furore

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Charity sorry for 'genuine mistake' over shoebox appeal


A SOCIAL media backlash against a local charity has led to the organisation apologising for a 'genuine mistake' relating to its shoebox appeal which has attracted thousands of online responses.

The incident was sparked when a Facebook post appeared online accusing Drop Inn of offering an item for sale in its Richhill store that had been donated as part of its Christmas shoebox appeal - an incident the charity stresses was a 'genuine mistake'.

The author behind the post explains that she discovered the doll on a shelf when she popped in to the store, only days after she had donated the toy as part of its shoebox appeal, which the charity collects and sends overseas each year.  

Inquiring as to how her donated item came to be displayed for sale, she claimed that she had been given "no explanation" other than all boxes are opened, and prohibited items removed.

It has since been established the shoebox was donated to Drop Inn after the charity's mid-November deadline.

The post, which elicited a storm of comments heavily criticising the charity, has since been shared nearly 4,000 times and attracted thousands of responses, prompting Drop Inn to issue a lengthly statement on its website clarifying its position.  

In it, the organisation admits the doll should not have been offered for sale.  "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 statement goes on to explain that, from the facts the charity has been able to ascertain, a volunteer mistakenly believed the shoebox was part of a consignment of shop stock that had been delivered to Richhill, and had "inadvertently opened the box, priced the doll and placed it out for sale".

"Again we recognise this should not have happened but it was a genuine mistake by the person concerned," the statement continues. "We will be doing everything possible to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"The cut-off date for our shoebox appeal was November 18.  We can guarantee that all shoeboxes we received prior to that date will be in the hands of children this Christmas."

Adding that it is "impossible" for shoeboxes to be delivered post deadline, Drop Inn said it will be making its shops aware of this next year, and suggestions for alternative charities who can use it in time for Christmas will be made.  

"Thanks again to everyone who helped make it possible to deliver a Christmas present to over 7,000 children this Christmas and thanks for your understanding in this matter," it adds.

It is understood the doll was removed from sale, returned to the owner, who has revealed that it will go to a Northern Ireland family in need this festive period.


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete