This is about an omission, a deception, that is no doubt playing on the good nature of Richmond County people who make a habit of looking out for others, caring about the less fortunate.
And thank God for those people. “Where but for the grace of God go I.”
We hope you took the time to read Kelli Easterling’s story on page one of Thursday’s Daily Journal headlined, “Blue bins don’t help Richmond community.”
An assortment of blue metal donation boxes have popped up around Rockingham and surrounding areas this spring, billed as “Clothing & Shoes Drop-Off.”
Signs on the bins read: “Missions of Hope NC, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people in need with clean and wearable clothing and textiles, and to give back to our community through donations, benefiting the education and improved well being of our youth.”
Our community … our youth?
We believe any reasonable mind could assume the donated clothing would end up on the backs of Richmond County people, and that any money raised from this venture would go toward programs to help the poor right here in the land that hugs the Pee Dee.
David Greenfield is listed as the principal of the organization, which is based in the Raleigh area. Easterling tracked him down for an interview.
“Most of the clothing goes to help third world areas, including Africa, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Chile and Mexico. Some stay in the United States in times of need,” said Greenfield. He said that “about 40 percent of the clothing is resold, to cover the cost of giving the rest away.” He would not tell us the company’s annual revenue.
He did say that Richmond County businesses were solicited to get permission to place the blue collection boxes on their property.
“A man stopped by here one day and asked if he could put out a blue bin to collect clothing for the needy,” said Del Lucas, owner of GP Wheels in Rockingham. “He gave me the impression the clothes were for Goodwill, and I figured they would go to the homeless shelter or something. I had no idea they would be going to other countries, or that they would be sold. I don’t like that at all.”
More boxes have been set up at Bowles Furniture, the Big Lots parking lot and other locations in Richmond County.
The same day our story was published, the blue bin at GP Wheels was removed.
Is there anything wrong with donating used clothing here that ends up on the backs of needy people in Haiti? Of course not, as long as you know where your donations are headed.
This is about full disclosure.
Greenfield’s blue bins should not claim that the used clothing will be going to our community, and should not claim the effort will go to improve our youth.
Yes, we all inhabit the same Earth, and we are more than ever a global community, but this is just common sense.
If you have some old clothes you want to donate to a local cause, stay away from the Missions of Hope NC, Inc. blue bins.