NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Donation vans from Brooklyn are causing controversy in a Queens neighborhood with residents saying they’re an eyesore and bringing down the area.
The Kew Gardens Hills community claims the “season of giving” has gotten out of hand.
“It’s disgusting… They’re making the whole neighborhood disgusting by leaving stuff outside,” Nina Greebler said.
Boxes and toys are often spilling out of these collection donation vans. Items residents say aren’t picked up often enough.
“People just throw stuff there and it looks like they’re just throwing out trash and it kind of takes way from beauty of neighborhood because it looks abandoned,” Aimee Hill explained.
“Stuff comes out of the top all piled up high stuff coming out sides and you always have people coming through to look through everything,” Nina Greebler added.
People tell CBS2 these vans have popped up all over the neighborhood and surrounding areas in recent years.
They continually take up parking spaces despite being ticketed.
“I think it’s horrible they allow this to happen… If they’re going to donate clothing that’s fine, but they should do it at an appropriate assignment,” Mike Johnathan argued.
Residents say they’ve complained to local leaders, but no permanent changes have been made.
“It’s a nice idea. I just think it needs to be more regulated so it doesn’t end up being a mess,” Esther Alter said.
The Department of Sanitation says it has been working with local community boards on this issue. The department told CBS2 they’ve been enforcing street regulations and issuing tickets for any donation vans violating alternate side parking.
Those with an attached trailer are not allowed to park on city streets if not loading or unloading donations, according to the city.
The vans are owned by Brooklyn-based nonprofit The Chesed Center. CBS2’s Reena Roy went to two of the organization’s addresses, trying to get an interview, but was only able to track down a phone number for the group.
The operator did not want her voice recorded, but told CBS2 items are picked up multiple times a week and given to locals in need or sent to Israel.
She added that the vans do move from time to time and the entire operation is all for a good cause. Inconvenienced residents in Queens are just hoping for a solution.
According to the center’s website, there are also donation vans located in Brooklyn and on Long Island.