Thursday, June 9, 2011

Junk For Disaster Victims

No more clothing” was the gist of a post I saw on Facebook. It came from an organization that had been collecting clothing for the people in Joplin, but they had reached the point that they had more clothes than they had time to sort through. Granted, it was a small organization with limited volunteer labor, but it got me to thinking. What are we doing making people sort clothing after a disaster?

Think about it. When a disaster strikes a call goes out for donations. Often, it doesn’t come from the people involved in the disaster as much as it comes from people who want to help. But then they run to their closets and pull out all the stuff that is too small, too large, or out of style. It’s the stuff they were saving for the next yard sale or the stuff they were going to give to Goodwill, but they hadn’t gotten around to it. All of that is loaded into boxes and shipped to the disaster area. Once there, someone has to go through those boxes, throwing away the junk and arranging the rest by sizes so people can find what they need. And then, what they have left is clothing that they may wear for a while, but once they get back on their feet, they’re going to buy new clothes and sell it at a yardsale.

Wouldn’t it be better if we wouldn’t give them our used stuff. They’ve just be through a disaster. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would give them new clothes? And why should volunteers have to sort through our junk? Instead, wouldn’t it make more sense for boxes of clothes like department stores receive to be shipped into the area, so that all the workers would have to do is distribute the clothing by size? If we really care for these people, why aren’t we giving them new clothes?