Wildfire donation centers receive and reject broken, dirty items




Posted on July 22, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 23 at 10:32 AM

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.—An outpouring of generosity helped raise more than $10,000 Monday with the Red Cross’ #Help2WA campaign. The money raised goes to help those hardest hit by the wildfires in Central Washington.

Organizations like the Red Cross asked people to give money and not items. So, 2 On Your Side looked into why some of the non-cash donations will not help fire victims.

Red Cross organizers have actually turned away people trying to donate clothing and house wares.  Mary Nelson with the Red Cross said they do not have the staffing or resources to sort through those items and send them.

Workers with the Red Cross have collected more than $100,000 total for the fire victims.

"It is very incredible" said Nelson, "and it's going to go a long way. But we have a long way to go to recover in this."

Leaders said cash is simply the easiest way to get fire victims what they need.  Red Cross organizers claimed cash donations help in two ways. The money buys supplies and also injects life back into the local economy.

“When the money goes to the disaster, or as close to the disaster, those people benefit from the funds that we give them,” added Nelson. “And it does benefit business right off the bat.”

Charity workers said what does not help the victims is using donations sites to dump old junk.  Donations sites have received everything from dirty, broken dishes to old underwear for fire victims. The picture above shows items that were dirty, broken, and unusable.

Anyone with new or like-new clothing or housewares to donate is being turned toward other agencies like the Salvation Army.