Local Charities Speak Out Against Red Donation Bins
LAWTON, Okla_For months now, the local Salvation Army and Goodwill chapters have been complaining about a rip off that's hurting them, and tricking our community.
The large red donation bins you've seen all around town may have you thinking you're helping the needy here when you put something in them, but the local groups say that's not the case.
"This company comes in under the pretense that they're helping Habitat for Humanity and they're raping this community of resources, " said Salvation Army Captain Ernie Hull.
The company Captain Hull is referring to is Houston based American Recyclers. This company partners with non profit organizations to bring in donations. In this case that non profit is Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity receives $12,000 a year for the bins, but the actual donations are sold for profit by American Recyclers out of state.
Hull says the primary concern is people who donate to these boxes may not realize little to nothing they put in is given back to our community or even anyone in Oklahoma.
"It's not clear as to the benefit to this community. Considering how many they've got around town you would think it benefits the community a great deal, " Hull said.
And Tuesday night the Lawton City Council took a big step in correcting this issue by passing a new ordinance. It places several new stipulations on donation boxes like requiring them to more clearly display who and what they're collecting for.
As of now the bins do say they are a for profit organization, but it's all the way down at the bottom and in small print. The city says that's not enough.
But in a phone conversation with the Oklahoma City representative for American Recyclers she said they think their signs are adequate enough. In fact she said they've never had an issue like this in any other towns.
In the end, Captain Hull said organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill have no issue with Habitat for Humanity. He said he just can't sit back and let an outside company take advantage of our community when he knows we could be getting so much more.
"They're just not putting the resources back in this community based on what they're taking out, " Hull said.
Hull said he actually sells some of his leftover donations to rag companies. He said he receives 28 cents a pound for those donations. He said based off of the 12,000 dollars Habitat for Humanity receives from the red bins, they're receiving maybe 3 cents a pound. While the Texas company receives about ten times as much in profits.
Habitat for Humanity said they signed a one-year contract with American Recyclers. That contract will be up in June. They're not yet sure they will continue their partnership.