Local non-profits seeking gently used items, not trash

by Cristin Parker cristin@thecherokeean.com

Spring has sprung, and that means lots of people are coming down with ‘spring cleaning’ fever.

As citizens are cleaning out their spaces, local non-profits are asking those residents to remember to donate their unwanted items – but only if they’re in decent condition.

“We’re seeing a lot of household trash,” Rusk Good Samaritan President Linda Cotton said. “ Just trash – dirty diapers, empty food containers, that kind of thing – we’d really like to not have that issue any more.”

The Good Samaritan in Rusk is not taking furniture or large appliance donations at this time.

“We just don’t have the space,” Cotton said. “Our drop boxes have been so full lately, we’re just trying to catch up, but we’re always accepting gently used clothing and shoes and smaller household items.”

Donations to the Good Samaritan can be dropped off at the organization’s location, 190 W. Second St., Rusk.

Other local organizations report they aren’t seeing much of a problem receiving unusable items.

Officials with the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties and the Clothes Closet & More, both in Jacksonville, said most of what they receive is still in good condition.

“We never turn down anything people are willing to donate,” Victim Advocate and Center resale store Manager Holly Walker said. “Generally, in every donation, there’s a small portion of items that aren’t resalable, but the vast majority of what we receive is in good shape.”

Walker said the Center is currently seeing an increase in donations, and the Center is always accepting furniture and appliances.

“The furniture tends to go pretty quickly, once we get it out on the floor,” she said. “So we’re always happy to receive those items.”

The Crisis Center’s resale shop, located at 700 E. Cherokee St., in Jacksonville, accepts donations from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Clothes Closet & More Executive Director Mickey Gear said while they receive very few unusable items, the biggest problem they face is disappearing donations.

“It seems like, when we do receive unusable items, it’s by mistake,” Gear said. “The problem we see most often is donations that are left outside after hours – they sometimes disappear.”

The Clothes Closet & More is currently seeking donations of Jacksonville ISD dress code appropriate items.

“We’re also looking for more donations of men’s clothing – men don’t donate their clothes, they just wear them out,” Gear said with a laugh.

Donations can be dropped off from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday at the Clothes Closet & More, 314 S. Main St., Jacksonville.

Regional organizations have also reported problems with receiving unusable donations, too.

“We have a problem with people bringing in items that we can’t sell and even dumping them after hours,” Goodwill of East Texas President and CEO Kimberly Lewis said. “When they know that these are items we cannot take, they’ll leave a soiled couch that’s not resalable or a broken appliance that’s not resalable.

“So we try to inform the public that [they should] donate to Goodwill items you would give a friend.”