For-Profit Donation Boxes Hurting Salvation Army, Other Charities

Wednesday, October 10th 2012, 7:35 pm
By: Karl Torp

Clothing donation boxes can be seen in many place around town.

It's a location where you can drop off old shoes and clothes and help charity at the same time. On the boxes you can read the charity being helped, but you can also read that the box is being run by a for-profit entity.

"It's a fast growing business," says Maj. Steve Justice with the Salvation Army.

Justice says because there are hundreds of these donation boxes around the metro, non-profits like the Salvation Army get hurt.

"It's affecting donations, there's no question," said Major Justice, who is considering using Salvation Army boxes himself because of the loss in donations.

The Salvation Army says it hasn't used their collection boxes in years. The other boxes appear to be sometimes placed throughout town without permission.

"Nobody asked us. They just put it here," said Noraiz Afzal, who operates a convenience store at Penn and N.W. 10th Street.

Wal-Mart at I-40 and MacArthur is now in the process of getting two collection boxes placed in their parking lot removed. Once the clothes are dropped off they can end up in Thrift stores.  Other items are sold to companies who can recycle the clothing.

American Recycles operates boxes all over the state.  A spokesman tells News 9 all the clothing collected ends up at a regional center in Houston.

"If you donated to one of these boxes, there's a good chance there's not much good coming from it," Justice said.

News 9 spotted several American recyclers collection boxes all over town, with claims that the charity "Positive Tomorrows" will receive $25,000 a year from the company. Justice says it's not much when you consider the kind of the money the businesses can make.

He bases the numbers on the money made through the Salvation Army's 4 Thrift store in the Metro.

Justice says $2.8 million is made at the four locations, with all the money going to fund an 80-bed rehab center.