BY LEANN DILBECK –
PCDC (Polk County Developmental Center) has, once again, been the target of a theft and according to the staff, it is an all too common occurrence.
Carla White, a member of the PCDC staff, said that she drove by the center last Friday, July 4, between 6 and 6:30 p.m. and noticed that they had received a lot of donations that had been dropped off outside the drop-off site because the store was closed due to the holiday. She said it is not uncommon for her or other staff members to stop on holidays or weekends to move the donations inside but on this particular evening, she said there was a lot of large, heavy items that she would be unable to move herself. She said she returned to the center at 6:55 a.m. the following morning only to discover that the 90% of the items had been stolen.
PCDC is a not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of providing services to the intellectually disabled citizens of Polk County so that they may live as independently as possible in the least restrictive environment.
Adults enrolled in the programs receive work skills training at the PCDC Resale Store and Work Center. They are taught specific work skills as well as appropriate work behaviors. Each client receives wages for the work performed in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor regulations and learns to become productive, tax paying citizens.
The adults are also trained in independent living skills, including the following: personal hygiene, grooming, appropriate health practices, nutrition, and physical fitness, housekeeping skills, socialization skills, money management skills, functional literacy, use of community resources, and the responsibilities of citizenship.
Angie Graves, another PCDC staff member, explained that when those donations are made at their center on Morrow Avenue, even though they are used and unwanted items, the donated items in effect, become property of the PCDC clients. “When you take it, you are stealing from our clients.”
The only sources of revenue for the center is through Arkansas Department of Human Services, Medicaid, and the remainder, over $536,000, is through local donations, the Resale Store and its recycling services.
PCDC employs approximately 60 staff members and serves 42 adult clients who work at the center in various capacities and each one is impacted each time donations are stolen because it is those donations that they rely on for their employment. Approximately 30 children are also served through the pre-school or daycare.
The staff is hopeful that by bringing increased awareness to the issue, supportive donors will make an effort to leave donations during operating hours [Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30 and Saturday 8:00-4:30] when the items can be secured, “but we understand that when you work, that’s not always possible,” said White. But they also hope that the community will also assist them by having a greater understanding of how important those “used & unwanted” items really are to the center and the clients who depend on it.