Charity seeks public help after fire to donation bins

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A local charity is asking for the public’s help Monday after a suspected arson destroyed three donation bins containing several thousand dollars in goods.

The incident happened sometime after 11 p.m. Sunday night at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Lincoln Park, said Michelle St. Pierre, spokeswoman for the charity. The bins sit next to the store at 3760 Fort Street.

Three bins valued at $1,500 each were destroyed as well as $3,000 in clothing and household items, St. Pierre said.

“The bins are so close to the actual store,” St. Pierre said. “We are feeling grateful because nobody was hurt.”

Each year, St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, provides help to 300,000 families in need through assistance including food, shelter and free dental clinics.

“We feel that the people or the person who did this, if they had understood how much good would have been done from these donations, they would have not done this terrible act,” St. Pierre said.

Lincoln Park Police recieved a report of the fire Monday afternoon and are early in its investigation, said Police Chief Raymond Watters.

Watters said the city has not had any prior incidents of a similar nature.

Business continued as usual at the store with its doors open for shoppers and those dropping off donations.

“It’s really heartbreaking that someone would come and do something like this,” said Shari Gantz of Rockwood. Gantz said she visted the store Monday afternoon to donate kitchen items. She had planned the trip prior to the fire.

“I actually have at my house bags of clothes waiting for them to get full,” she said. “Seeing that there was a lot clothing that was damaged, I’ll be trying to help them replenish.”

Tracy Hale, who works across the street from the thrift store, said the incident is a shame. The lifelong Lincoln Park resident said she regularly donates to the store.

“It’s nice to see something that helps people,” she said.

The charity is asking for the public to donate items at any of the 11 St. Vincent de Paul thrift store locations in Metro Detroit.

Monetary donations can be made at

(313) 222-2311