A day at the Shelter.

I spent a little over an hour, sorting through a jumbled mess of clothes and bedding that smelled of baby puke, throwing out cheap clothes with shredded seams, bras that were stretched and ripped, and baby clothes turned inside out so you wouldn’t see the stains. Three shoes that were so “distressed” that I would have thrown them out even if they were in pairs. Three socks.

I’m sure the person who donated them was doing the best they could. I stashed some of the ripped clothing for the material (I am a magpie), and took the rest out to the garbage, to a sky loud with the sound of geese; three flocks, each over a hundred, going down to the Lake for breakfast.

Tucked in the bottom of one of the boxes was a plastic bag holding four pebbles. I used the bag for some lengths of lace, and put the pebbles in my bag.

Sometimes good and bad are the same thing.

5 thoughts on “A day at the Shelter.

  1. At your used clothing ministry we got wedding dresses, a pair of roller skates and a wooden leg.

  2. Sounds like the story from “Pollyanna,” how she really wanted a doll. But when the missionary barrel arrived, they’d sent her a pair of crutches.

  3. Back in my Lutheran days, the church I was a member of helped sponsor a Vietnamese family. We asked for donations of clothes and housewares. The housewares we received weren’t too bad. But the clothes… omg, I figure that members used the call for clothes to clean out storage area and their closets of any old items they had. We told the congregation that these people were small and not very large (weight-wise). We got stuff for 6-foot men, stuff that had visibly worn hems and elbows, etc. Really grungy clothes. After we went through the clothes we tossed the old, dirty, ripped stuff. It was most of what was donated.
    This is why schools, churches and other organizations ask for new things for donations at the holidays and other times. I’ve heard people complain that the school asked for new things, and the women complained that they bought used things at Good Will for their own families. And I ask them, “are the items dirty, ripped, soiled? The school doesn’t want you to buy the most expensive wool items, they just want warmish things that don’t look like they’ve been used for years.” And these days you can buy cheap moderate priced gloves, hats, etc. at chain drug stores or 99-cent stores.
    Sorry for the rant, but I donate clothes all the time to different organizations and it annoys me to no end when people donate items that should be discarded because of their condition. And it forces the charity to spend scarce resources (money and volunteer time) to sort and dispose of unusable items.

  4. I have been involved in these clothing-gathering places, and I can tell you that 75% of the stuff goes into the dumpster. Goodwill has contracts to bale up discarded clothing to be recycled. The stuff these people are buying second hand is actually the cream of the crop.There is such an amount of surplus clothing in the US that it is beyond belief. We could easily pay more and use less so that the workers could have a living wage and we would still have plenty. I suppose that is probably true for most consumer items.

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