Charities at odds over donation bin proposal

April 3, 2013 8:08:09 PM PDT
Charitable organizations are battling each other in Sacramento over drop-off boxes for old clothes and shoes.

You've seen the collection boxes in California communities asking for your used clothing and shoes. Often they're for charities. But some non-profits are very concerned about a proposal sponsored by Goodwill that will give local government and property owners more latitude to haul those bins away and grant them immunity for liability.

"We'll see that Goodwill will go to property owners and say the bin operators -- whoever it is -- is bad or is masquerading and it's simply not true," opponent Jonathan Franks said. "What they do is try to the property owner amped up to have the bin removed."

Opponents suggest Goodwill is pushing the bill to get rid of the competition for donations that would have gone to them. They say Goodwill's goal to maintain its dominance in the second-hand clothing industry.

Goodwill insists the proposal is about seeking permission -- that many boxes are installed without asking the property owners.

"We had a box on one non-profit, New Directions, and they had a devil of a time getting it removed; it took the company six months for them to remove the box," Goodwill Industries of San Joaquin Valley spokesperson Sally Wooden said.

The showdown between charities was supposed to start Wednesday in a Senate committee with the smaller non-profits knowing it was an uphill battle to stop the bill. But the Goodwill challengers got a reprieve. The Chairwoman pulled it from the agenda because of what she calls concerns

Michael Moore's organization, Planet Aid, will be back in Sacramento. His collection boxes are a lifeline bringing in about $3 million a year for such causes as HIV prevention and teacher training.

"I think it's mean-spirited of Goodwill to present this bill to harm charities, to harm collection box operators," he said. "It just is."

"They're taking these textiles and shoes out of our communities and then they don't serve our local community," Wooden said.

The hearing will be rescheduled over the next few weeks.


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