Categories: General Date: Jun 1, 2011 Title: After a Disaster, Junk becomes a ChallengellThe disaster within the disaster
After a disaster, junk donations become a challenge
A recent article in the Associated Press addressed the issue of donations coming in for victims of the recent tornados. Most people want to help anyway they can. Human suffering gets us everytime and our very souls cry out to help. But, what we want to give and what is needed doesn’t always line up.
According to the AP article, agencies are still encouraging people to send items like cleaning supplies or cash donations that can be used to cover operating expenses or handed out to victims. But with storage space scarce they can't handle any more used toys or cast-off clothing.
"That becomes the disaster within the disaster," said Salvation Army spokesman Mark Jones. "When people make those mass donations ... it causes the community to be overrun with them and have to deal with that in addition to the storm damage." They have warehouses full of donations, but too many of those items are broken toys, dirty stuffed animals and used underwear that has to be thrown in the trash.
What is really needed? New underwear, nonperishable foods, pet food and sports drinks. Toiletry items and paper goods. Cleaning supplies & laundry detergent. No clothing. Clothing is best taken to those that know how to handle it. They get it to the victims as the requests come in.
OFH Clothing for a Cause in Powder Springs works well with the disaster trained staff at McEachern UMC. They take in the clothing, sort it and are ready for the requests. Yes, some items may end up on the sale floor but that item is sold and then the money goes to helping all kinds of people finding themselves homeless.
“People can be very giving and we love that” says Linda Lipp Executive Director. They need to trust us to handle getting clothing to people in need. We process over $400,000 worth of clothing each year. Only about 20% actually stays in the store. The rest goes out to ministries and relief efforts.