Dress Best for Less (DBFL) volunteers say an arsonist set fire to its drop-off shed and donation bin in Oakland at The First Congregational Church of Oakland at 2501 Harrison Street last week.
According to DBFL President Linda Smith Munyan, the damage to the shed and bin was discovered by a team of volunteers on Tuesday, March 21. She said both the shed and bin were intact when the team was there on Saturday, March 18 so the arson occurred sometime between Saturday mid-day and Tuesday morning.
In addition to the bin and shed, three windows in the church were broken from the heat of the fire. Munyan said this was not the first time the bin and shed have been vandalized, but in the past the heavy-duty locks were cut and items were stolen. DBFL is filing an insurance claim and has to pay to have the site cleaned since the burned remnants are hazardous.
“We are doing our best to make the new location work, but this is a big setback,” she said. “Donations are down and with news of the fire, we are worried that donors may stay away. We are 100% donation-based, so we are concerned. We would love to find a permanent Piedmont-based donation solution that is safer for our team of volunteers and donors.”
The organization had to relocate last October after losing its Carriage House Marking Room location due to the construction of the new pool complex in Piedmont.
Dress Best for Less (DBFL) has been raising money for Piedmont schools for almost 40 years by collecting clothing and household items to resell to the community. Given the difficulties the organization is facing, volunteers worry about DBFL’s future and say they’d like to try finding a place in Piedmont again. DBFL met with city and school officials prior to relocating to try to identify a new collection site, but no in-town solution was found. The fire department had past concerns about illegal dumping and/or fire hazards at the old drop-off location in town, especially during the pandemic.
As a result of the fire, DBFL can longer to accept donations after hours since those donations were put in the bin. But you can still drop off you donations at the Oakland site, no appointment needed:
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 9 a.m. – 12 noon
- Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 12 noon
DBFL is also hosting in-town dropoffs on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m .- 11 a.m, in front of Ellen Driscoll Theater at 325 Highland – next to Havens Elementary.
You can visit the DBFL store at 4020 Piedmont Avenue.