Over the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of unattended donation bins popping up all over town and in Southern Indiana. Four years ago, when for-profit collection boxes began appearing in Louisville, St. Vincent de Paul joined forces with a few other local nonprofits and successfully lobbied the Kentucky General Assembly to require these boxes to adhere to truth-in-advertising standards. The boxes had to be labeled as being operated by “for-profit companies,” and a disclaimer had to explain that donations were not tax-deductible.
This transparency drove the bin operators out of our community for several years, but now many of them are back.Many people who drop gently used items into these for-profit donation boxes have no idea how their goods will be used or who will benefit. What often happens is that the for-profit company sells your donations to a third-party textile recycler, reaping big dollars for these baled and recycled materials. Some of these companies then designate a fraction of the revenues generated by the donations to a specific charity. Some estimates show that such partnerships often garner less than 4 percent of donation revenues for the partner charity.
By contrast, St. Vincent de Paul uses donations to stock our four local Thrift Stores. What cannot be sold in our stores is recycled. All profits – 100 percent– are used to help fund our critically needed programs and services for the poor here in our community: These include our Open Hand Kitchen, Ozanam Innmen’s homeless shelter, and St. Jude Women’s Recovery Center.
All the profits remain in theLouisville area, benefiting St. Vincent de Paul and contributing to the local economy, as opposed to going out of state or overseas.St. Vincent de Paul has once again joined a consortium of concerned local nonprofits to encourage members of Louisville Metro Council to understand the negative impact these for-profit, out-of-state competitors pose for local nonprofits like ours. We need your support and for you to make your voice heard on this important issue.
If you would like to get involved, please contact your Louisville Metro Council representative and tell them you support an ordinance to crack down on these for-profit competitors. Here is a list of phone numbers:
Vicki Welch 502-574-1113
Bob Henderson 502-574-1114
Ken Fleming 502-574-1107
Tom Owen 502-574-1108
Rick Blackwell 502-574-1112
Jerry Miller 502-574-1119
Robin Engel 502-574-1122
David Yates 502-574-1125
Brent Ackerson 502-574-1126