Salvation Army bell ringers banned from Arroyo Grande plaza
December 4, 2013
Salvation Army bells will not be ringing in front of the Arroyo Grande Walmart this Christmas season. [Tribune]
The Five Cities Center, a shopping plaza that includes Walmart and Albertsons, has banned fundraising in front of its stores.
“I love to be in front of Walmart,” said Arroyo Grande resident and Salvation Army volunteer, Helen Saulsbury to the Tribune. “I’d sing Christmas carols, and people would joke they’d give me money to stop singing.”
But, the property manager decided to enforce a soliciting ban after tenants complained that solicitors, not associated with the Salvation Army, had aggressively followed shoppers to their vehicles.
The fundraising ban applies to all organizations, including the Girl Scouts.
“If we allow one to do it, we have to allow everybody to do it,” said Ana Latorre of the property owner Investec Management Corp. “We as a landlord are in violation of our own agreements with the tenants.”
Lease agreements at the Five Cities Center have always prohibited solicitation, but no one had ever enforced the policy, a property supervisor said.
The property management firm for Vons grocery store in Paso Robles has also given bell ringers the boot, according to a Salvation Army representative.
About 40 Salvation Army bell-ringing donation sites exist in San Luis Obispo County, and 90 percent of the funds collected go to local residents, the organization representative said.