SANFORD, Maine — There have been two separate efforts to help the homeless in Sanford, this summer. A local restaurant is providing meals for the homeless from its leftovers. And the police department created a new task force to help connect homeless people with the resources they need to get back on their feet.

Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly Jr. said his community is much more aware of the homeless population and they are eager to help.

However, he said that help has come in the form of people leaving bags of clothing and large items near places where people are living in tents. Chief Connolly says it's become a problem because the items are picked over, and most are not taken or used leaving behind a mess. 

"It's really not the most efficient way to donate," said Chief Connolly.

Police are urging people, instead, to donate their unwanted items to organizations that support the homeless. Police will also be stepping up enforcement efforts of littering.

Depending on the amount of litter, violators can face fines of at least $500.

RELATED: Helping Sanford's homeless one hot meal at a time
RELATED: Tent donations to homeless ignites debate