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‘People were willing to help’: Congregation gets answers after trash dumped on church property

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 2:45 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A house of worship in the heart of Richmond is grateful to get answers and resolve an issue with trash dumped on its property.

Eastminster Presbyterian worked quickly to get what was estimated to be 4-5 truckloads of trash hauled away just days before Pastor Shady Clark, celebrated 45 years leading the congregation.

“A lot of calls that came in, Rev. [Clark] had me to listen to some. We have a lot of people in the area who were listening to Channel 12 and were willing to help,” said Elder Wayne Johnson.

Pastor Clark hired a contractor to pick up the trash, and church Elder Betty Southerland said it took about two days to complete the project. Even after the clean-up, Southerland continued to work to figure out where it came from.

A torn-up piece of paper in the pile led her to a Walgreens in North Dinwiddie County. The paper had a phone number on it. When Southerland called, the store asked her to send photos and directed her to corporate. Southerland says she later received a call that at least some of the debris is likely from the liquidation of a Walgreens in Colonial Heights. Southerland was told that particular store closed years ago. It appears an outside company was hired to haul things away and it was eventually left on the church property.

“I don’t have any hard feelings with Walgreens because I know it wasn’t their fault, it was a third-party vendor,” she said. “[The vendor] decided to just dump it somewhere.”

She has spent the last two weeks in contact with Walgreens corporate, who she says has been apologetic for the frustration and that the church would receive a donation via a check in the mail.

“Walgreens has decided to make a donation to the church, which is great, that is really good, and they are asking the vendor who dumped the stuff in the parking lot to match that as well,” Southerland explained. “We really would like to thank Channel 12 news and all the community who actually called and said they wanted to come out in those efforts to clear the parking lot of all the debris so our pastor would have a great anniversary.”

NBC12 reached out to Walgreen’s Corporate and the On Your Side Investigators were told the business did not dump the trash, instead it was left by a third-party vendor.

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