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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor
May 19, 2019

8/28/2018 10:45:00 AM
Clothing Center gets 'gross' donations


The Clothing Center Workshop, a Matthew: 25 Ministry, on Outer East Main Street, was founded in 1966 by the Robinson Lions Club (and is still supported by the Lions Club). Since its founding, it has been operated in several different locations due to such things as availability, cost, expanding business, and various other factors. The current dilemma, expanding business, is the subject matter of this letter.

The Clothing Center is operated by one paid employee and several volunteers. All are dedicated people who provide a valuable public service. They collect and sort the clothing that is donated by generous citizens who leave the clothing at the drop-off window at all hours of the day and night seven days a week. Then there is the effort of stocking and arranging the shopping room. In addition to that, excess donations that cannot be displayed must be stored for future needs. And storage space is at a premium! The work load has always been overwhelming; often to the extent that we sometimes are forced to distribute excess clothing to other places such as The LightHouse, Terre Haute, The Red Bird Mission, and even the Goodwill in some cases.

Now, there is some good news, and some bad news ...and the unfortunate closing of the Goodwill store in Robinson, has precipitated both!

First, the good news: More and more donations are coming in to the Clothing Center! Thank You, folks. They are appreciated by many needy people all over Crawford County.

Now, the bad news: More and more of the donations are simple acts of dumping of unusable, dirty, stained, unwashed, and, in some cases, actually filthy clothing. Mold, mildew, insects, and even rodent nests have been found. This creates an additional and unnecessary hardship on the workers here... an emotional strain that is the result of some people's careless disregard for the working environment here. As a member of the board of directors, I have heard of some really gross stories of bags of filthy clothing that have to be handled and disposed of in some manner. This is such a terrible display of offensive behavior by the inconsiderate few who abuse the privilege that the Clothing Center offers to the general public... It simply is inexcusable!

Due to these types of "donations" (???) the Clothing Center has decided to limit the drop-off hours that the window will be open. Donations of clothing can now be accepted only during hours of operation on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We know that this will probably not completely stop the abuses of the past... We are hopeful, though, that it will be enough to slow them down.

In closing, I can only say that there is very little we can do about it unless there is evidence to lead us to a perpetrator. We can only appeal to the general public, without whom we would not be able to operate the center. Please consider the health and dignity of those selfless people who handle the donations of clothing, and do a valuable service to the community by giving of their time and effort. The service we offer is needed in the local area, and we are only too happy to provide it. We look forward to many more years of providing a service for those in need.

Tom Bailey

Vice President, board of directors

Clothing Center Workshop

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