Thieves hit community boosters

Business owners try to help community with donations


Princeton business owners who facilitate the donation of thousands of dollars to community groups each year were disappointed recently to be the victims of theft.

Two weeks ago The Hut lost 20 clean and specially treated pallets that were ordered to hold recycled electronic equipment, said Bill Vowles, who operates the business with his wife Ann.

The skids would have been removed with two pick up trucks, or a truck and a trailer, he said.

“With all the hype on Facebook and You Tube about people building stuff with used pallets, I expect someone has a project in mind,” he said.

The theft was irksome, as the pallets cost the business a deposit fee, but Vowles did not feel it warranted a call to the local police.

“What am I going to say? A skid looks like a skid. It’s not like I’m going to be able to identify mine,” he said.

“It’s one of the things that’s so frustrating,” said Vowles. “You try to help people and then stuff like this happens..”

The Vowles have operated The Hut – a recycling depot, variety store and ice cream shop – for twenty years. In that time they’ve initiated numerous projects to provide funds for everything from Girl Guides, to Princeton Secondary School graduates, the local crisis center and minor sports teams.

“Well, we are part of the community,” said Vowles.

The Hut maintains a community drop-off bin for recycling, where residents can drop off their bottles and cans. The Hut staff sorts and processes the donations, and then distributes the money to various groups and people in need.

Last year the bin generated about $2,500 in donations.

Additionally the business provides three rotating bins that are made available for exclusive use by associations and individuals trying to raise funds. Supporters can target their recycling donations, and then the receiving group takes care of the sorting.

Vowles said The Hut may also be forced to discontinue a book sale table that provides charity funds because of increasing book thefts and pilfering from the donation jar.

“It’s a lot of work and we lose a lot of books and donations,” he said. “It seems to be getting worse.”


Vowles said despite the ongoing knocks to charity he believes “most people are good. There’s just a few that spoil it for everyone else.”