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Zen - Den Cotswolds

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Charles Nekrasov
Charles Nekrasov

Salvation Army Buy Clothes

When you bring a bag with clothes and gently used items to your local Family Store, The Salvation Army sorts and processes the items to add to our store inventory. We add new items every week so there's always something fresh.

salvation army buy clothes


So, at this point, the charity you have donated clothes to has earned money off of them in two ways -- in their shops and by selling to recyclers. Then the recycler kicks into high gear. Most of the clothes are recycled into cleaning cloths and other industrial items, for which the recyclers say they make a modest profit.

By the time the bale of jeans is unloaded from a container here in Accra, Ghana, it is worth around $144. That's $1.30 per pair of jeans. But when the bale is opened up and the jeans are laid out for sale in the so-called \"bend over\" markets, customers bend over and select their purchases from the ground for an average price of $6.66 per pair of jeans. That's a 500 percent increase in value just by opening up the bale of clothes.

So now you know that about 70 percent of your old donated jeans 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, for an average price of about $7 per pair. That's a bargain for African shoppers -- most of them are low-income earners who cannot afford to buy newly made U.S. clothes.

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.

Bama Athreya, deputy director of the International Labor Rights Fund in Washingtron D.C., told ABC News: \"Many of these countries in Africa used to have a fairly well-developed indigenous market for textiles and clothing and particularly for hand-crafted or hand-tailored clothes. And we've seen those markets virtually disappear over the last decade or two.\"

This state of affairs upsets AnnMarie Resnick, a woman we met in Manhattan while she was donating clothes, who told ABC News: \"It stinks. I don't like it, but I would still give. There are a lot of people who are going to constantly profit, because this is probably happening with really nice people. With us -- and we profit too -- we get a tax deduction. If I knew how to send to Africa myself, I would.\"

Marc Kaplowictz, whom we also met while he was donating clothes in New York City, has mixed feelings: \"And who ends up with the profit there? Big picture, obviously I would be against that. I am obviously the little guy in this process. I don't know. I don't think the answer is to have people stop donating.\"

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. After all, isn't that the spirit in which you gave your clothes to begin with?

Both the Goodwill and the Salvation Army point out on their Web sites that much of the donated clothes are sold in their charity shops to raise money for a variety of good causes. But there is no mention of the fact that some donated items are sold overseas at a profit to private enterprises. One Goodwill source stressed that Americans should continue to donate their used clothing because U.S. charities need their cut of this market in order to help other Americans in need. 041b061a72


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