Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where do they go ?

Do most Americans really know what they're doing when they donate clothing to charities? For instance, do you think you are giving your beloved but worn jeans to someone with no money to buy their own? Perhaps some poor person in your hometown, or even far away in Africa?

Wake up and smell the money. Your used clothes are usually sold, not given away.
About 70 percent of your old donated clothes are being used as cloths to wipe oil off of engine parts and the remaining 20 to 25 percent of pants that left your closet with no value are ultimately sold in Africa, where American clothes are extremely popular.

There are two ways to look at all this. One view is that it is wrong for entrepreneurs to profit from what you give away to charity, and that by dumping huge amounts of cheap U.S. clothing on the streets here, African textile industries are closing their factories and laying people off because they cannot make clothes as cheaply as those American items found in the bend over markets.

The other view is that the donated clothing market is actually the American way, that your old clothing is used at every step to create new wealth and to help people who are less fortunate. First of all, charities like Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army make clear on their Web sites that proceeds for charity and thrift shops, as well as from bulk sales to recyclers, go directly to support education, work and drug rehab programs for people who would otherwise suffer greatly.

ABC News Story

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