What is the Best Way to Dispose of Unwanted Clothing?

Having a surplus of unwanted clothing is a common dilemma for many people in first world countries, and it can be difficult to figure out how to dispose of it all. This is often because we accumulate clothing that we don’t need and then procrastinate in cleaning out our closets. An easy solution to this problem would be to throw out the clothing that is unwanted or damaged. You can do this, but textiles sent to landfills take a long time to decompose which releases toxic chemicals into the air. 

You may be wondering if there are better alternatives to dispose of used textiles so they can be reused or recycled. The answer is yes, but most of the alternatives are imperfect solutions that don’t fully resolve the environmental issues caused by the excess clothing in first world countries. 

If you’re trying to get rid of piles of clothing in ways that are better for the environment (as opposed to directly sending them to landfills), then this post will help you do so. I will analyze the alternative textile disposal services that claim to recycle and reuse clothing. You can decide which textile disposal service best reuses old clothes.

But before I compare the different textile recycling services and organizations, I want to go over the three common methods that are used for repurposing large quantities of old clothing.

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How Clothing is Repurposed

Method #1: Clothes are sold to second-hand markets in third world countries.

This is the most common method of giving old clothing a second life. The idea of selling bulks of used clothing to developing countries has much appeal. First off, it gives less fortunate people access to a variety of affordable clothing. People in East African countries often adopt western-style and culture because of this. Secondly, clothing imports create small business opportunities. There are lots of individuals in struggling countries who take part in selling second-hand clothing on a micro-level. These people are often considered “middlemen” because they buy clothes in bulk for cheap, from developed countries, and then resell them in their communities. The imported clothing fuels second-hand markets, which creates jobs in third world countries.

Even with taking these positives into consideration, selling bulks of clothing so they can be resold in developing countries has been criticized. One reason is that the second-hand clothing markets undermine local textile industries. Struggling countries can never develop their own economies if they are always dependent on imports from first world countries. Another major downside is that third world countries often get too many clothing imports. This is bad because third world countries don’t have large textile recycling services. Oftentimes clothes end up in fire pits, the ocean, and landfills. Because of these reasons many consider this method for reusing clothing counterproductive to reducing textile waste. 

Method #2: Clothes are downcycled as rags or used in other industries.

Another way clothing is repurposed is through downcycling. Dowcycling is the process of breaking down clothing into weaker materials, then reusing that material for lower value products. Clothing can be recreated into wiping rags, home/auto insulation, carpet padding, upholstery, and many other things.

This method is great for reusing large quantities of clothing that may not be in wearable condition. The only fault to downcycling is that the material can only be reused once because the fibers weaken after you breakdown the clothing. If we could maintain the quality of the fibers then they could be reused over and over again.

Method #3: Clothes are broken down into fibers and recycled into new virgin materials or upcycled into new products.

 Recycling fibers from old clothing is the most complicated of the repurposing methods. This is because a lot of clothes today contain plastic synthetic fibers like polyester instead of being made of 100% natural cellulose fibers like cotton. Recycling synthetic/cellulose blends of clothing is predicated on an elaborate process of sorting, separating, and breaking down the fibers. Here’s a video that demonstrates this process.

If you are interested in blended textile separation check out hkrita.com

As you can see, a lot of technology is required for recycling the fibers in our clothes. Even though the technology is impressive, this process is hard to commercialize. Most of the clothes with mixed blends of fibers still never get recycled. If we are able to sort, separate, and reuse different fibers in an efficient and profitable way there would be no need for waste. We could just keep reusing old fibers to make new products.

What about textiles made from 100% cotton?

 Textiles made from 100% cotton are much easier to repurpose. This is because cotton textiles can now be broken down mechanically without losing the quality of the natural fibers. The fibers can then be upcycled into new textiles. Here’s a video that demonstrates this process.

Reviewing Textile Recycling Services and Organizations

Before putting your clothes in the hands of big organizations and recycling services, you can take some steps to find uses for clothes by yourself.

  • Clothing Swaps

You can participate in a clothing swap and exchange clothes with other people, or host one with your friends.

  • Clothing Resell apps

8 best clothing resell apps. 

  • Upcycle clothing

Best DIY upcycling clothing projects.

  • Give away

If you want to give your clothes to a homeless shelter make sure they actually want your clothing.

Now let’s review the alternative textile disposal options. *Ranked in no particular order*

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  1. Donating to The Salvation Army or Goodwill

Charitable organizations like The Salvation Army and Goodwill have thrift stores to sell the clothing that gets donated to them. The money they make off of their thrift stores funds their charitable programs. 

These organizations receive bulks of clothing every day. So much, in fact, only a minority of the clothing gets sold at the thrift stores. The question is, what happens with all the leftover clothing?

Keep in mind The Salvation Army and Goodwill want to make money in order to fund their programs. Meaning, they always want to find the easiest way to get rid of the clothing, while still bringing in money. So if the clothes don’t sell at the thrift stores, they will try online auctions or big sale events to get rid of the clothes. The best example of this is the “buy by the pound sales”. This is an event where customers can buy a pound of clothing for less than a dollar. Even with people buying multiple pounds of clothing at various locations, there is still a surplus. This is when The Salvation Army and Goodwill start using some of the methods I’ve mentioned previously. 

The clothing that is still wearable is sold in bulk to secondhand markets in third world countries. You already know that these second-hand markets are oversaturated and not necessarily helpful in reducing waste. But at least these charitable organizations take steps to get rid of the clothing in their local communities before shipping them overseas.

The clothing that is unwanted or in poor condition is downcycled into lower-value products and used in other industries. Like I said before, this method only allows the materials from old clothing to be reused once. 

Unfortunately, the process of blended textile separation is not efficient enough to handle the amounts of undesirable clothing that these charities receive. And upcycling 100% cotton textiles does not bring in money yet. So as of right now, method 3 is off the table for The Salvation Army and Goodwill.

Source: https://www.newfrontierchronicle.org/recycling-efforts-boost-arc/

  1. I:CO (I:Collect)

I:CO is a textile recycling company that partners with retailers in order to collect used clothes and shoes. Stores like H&M and The North Face offer discount incentives for donating used clothing and shoes (any brand, dry condition). The clothing that is collected is sent to I:CO for sorting and reuse. The clothing that is in good condition is sold second hand around the world. I:CO does its best to make sure there is a market for all the clothes they send. Different locations will receive different types of clothing depending on the demand in a particular area. Both climate and local styles are taken into consideration. 

I:CO has a lot of options for clothing and shoes that are in poor condition. 

I:CO uses both method 2 (downcycling) and method 3 (recycling/upcycling). I:CO refers to this as open-loop and closed-loop recycling.  

  • Open Loop (method 2)

The majority of the unwearable textiles go through the open-loop. The open-loop process involves breaking down the materials of clothing and shoes to create lower value products. For clothing, I:CO uses the fibers as insulation for the construction and auto industries. Shoes go through I:CO’s shoe plant in Germany. A mechanically automized system breaks down the shoes into different components. These components can be used to create secondary raw materials that lead to products in different industries. 

  • Closed Loop (method 3)

The closed-loop process involves using materials from old clothing and shoes to make new clothing and shoes. This is the most ideal way to recycle because the materials can forever be reused in the fashion industry. The only problem is that the process of sorting and separating different materials is not efficent enough for the large amounts of clothes. So only a small minority of clothes can be created into new clothes.

Fortunately I:CO has other closed-loop cycles. Some fibers can be spun into yarn and utilized in other supply chains. I:CO also has a plant for recycling shoes. Rubber granules can create new shoe soles.

Source: https://www.ico-spirit.com/en/services/

  1. Soles4Souls

Soles4Souls is an organization that collects “gently used” shoes and clothes for impoverished people. To collect the clothing and shoes, Soles4Souls has many partnerships including companies like The North Face and Zappos. The North Face offers discount incentives if you drop off clothing and shoes at their stores. Zappos is a company that will help ship your clothes/shoes to Soles4Souls. 

Remember that S4S is not a recycler, the only thing they do is distribute the donations. The clothes and shoes are distributed in two different ways: free distribution (charity) and micro enterprise (Method 1). 

  • Free distribution (charity)

Soles4Souls plays the role of a typical charity with free distribution. They look for people and families who need clothing in the United States and around the world. They also give clothes and shoes to schools, churches, homeless shelters, and other non-profits. Free distribution only accounts for about 10% of the shoes and clothes that are donated to S4S.

  • Micro Enterprise (Method 1)

A large majority of the shoes and clothes that get donated to S4S are sold around the world to resellers. S4S sells one pair of shoes (1 piece of clothing) for an average of one dollar. The shoes and clothing create small businesses aka micro-enterprise in struggling communities. S4S provides training for the people who resell the shoes and clothing in these communities. This ensures that the second-hand shoe/clothing markets will create sustainable jobs in developing countries.

Source: Soles4Souls 2019 Annual Report

  • Blue Jeans Go Green

Blue Jeans Go Green is a program that collects and downcycles denim made from cotton material. 

This program is affiliated with clothing retailers such as Levis, Madewell, and American Eagle. All of these retailers give incentive discounts to people that donate used denim jeans at their stores. 

Blue Jeans Go Green is also partnered with Zappos a company that will help ship your jeans.

The denim that is collected will be reduced back into natural cotton and downcycled as insulation for the building of homes around the world

Source: https://bluejeansgogreen.org

  1. Terracycle

Terracycle is a recycling company that takes waste from people’s homes for recycling. They take pride in finding innovative ways to recycle waste, in this case, textiles. Terracycle will send you a box specifically meant for your old textiles. This box costs at least $100. They will pick up the box with your old textiles and bring it to one of their facilities. 

Terracycle takes a no-waste approach with everything including tecxtiles. They first sort the textiles into categories. Clothes with plastic synthetic material like nylon, polyester, etc vs clothes with 100% natural cellulose material like cotton. After sorting the textiles they figure out how to break down the fibers to create new products.

 The process of recycling synthetic fibers and cellulose fibers can best be demonstrated by how Terracycle recycles diapers.

Ok, that concludes this post. 

If you want to search for textile recycling services that are local to you then click here.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

Free and Affordable Ways to Get Rid of Your Stuff.

1. Common Disposal methods for most items.

2. Disposal methods for clothing.

3. Disposal methods for furniture.

4. Disposal methods for glassware and knick-knacks.

5. Disposal methods for electronics (tube t.v).

6. Disposal methods for miscellaneous items.

1. Common disposal methods for most items.

  • Donating to The Salvation Army or Goodwill

If you have good quality items that you’re willing to give away, then donating to thrift stores like The Salvation Army and Goodwill is a great option. Most thrift stores take things like clothes, home decor, furniture, glassware, kitchen supplies, and knick-knacks. Make sure the items you donate are still usable because oftentimes thrift stores sell the donations for a good cause. Giving unusable items to these organizations can hurt the funding for programs that help people in need. This is why it is important to follow the donation policies and guidelines that are put in place. 

What items does The Salvation Army accept?

What items does Goodwill accept?

  • Sell or give via Facebook Marketplace

Another convenient way to get stuff off your hands is by using Facebook Marketplace. Since Facebook is more of a social media platform than a reselling app, it is easier to connect to people that could use your items. Meaning that there are a variety of people with a variety of different wants and needs on Facebook. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell, it could be a mattress, it could be a frying pan. Whatever it is there’s most likely demand for it on Facebook Marketplace. Obviously don’t try to promote junk, but if you really want to get rid of something you can mark your item as free or at a low price.

How Facebook Marketplace works by HowFintiy

Tips for selling on Facebook.

  • Junk Removal Services

If you do have junk or damaged items, then you can use a junk removal service. These businesses will take pretty much everything besides hazardous waste.  

Best Junk Removal Services and in-depth reviews.

If you live in Florida or Texas, consider using the Junk Shot app.

2. Disposal methods for clothing. 

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  • I Collect (I:CO)

I:CO is a company that collects, reuses, and recycles old clothing on a global scale. In order to collect clothes, I:CO partners with popular retail stores around the world. 

Stores like H&M and Asics give people discount rewards for donating used clothing and shoes (any brand, dry condition). 

All the used textiles that are collected at the retail stores are transported to local sorting facilities. I:CO uses a specific sorting method to figure out what to do with the collected clothing.

The clothing that is good condition is sold second hand around the world. I:CO does its best to make sure there is a market for all the clothes they send. Different locations will receive different types of clothing depending on the demand in a particular area. Climate and local styles are both taken into consideration. 

I:CO has a lot of options for clothing and shoes that are in poor condition. 

  • Open Loop 

The majority of the unwearable textiles go through the open-loop. The open-loop process involves breaking down the materials of clothing and shoes to create lower value products. For clothing, I:CO uses the fibers as insulation for the construction and auto industries

  • Closed Loop 

The closed-loop process involves using materials from old clothing and shoes to make new clothing. Only a small minority of clothes can be created into new clothes. Fortunately I:CO has other closed-loop cycles that involve spinning fibers into yarn that can be utilized in other supply chains.

For more info check the I:CO website.

  • Blue Jeans Go Green

Blue Jeans Go Green is a program that collects and recycles denim made from cotton material. 

This program is affiliated with clothing retailers such as Levis, Madewell, and American Eagle. All of these retailers give incentive discounts to people that donate used denim at their stores. 

The denim that is collected will be reduced back into natural cotton and recycled as insulation for building organizations. For more info check the Blue Jeans Go Green website.

  • Donating to a Thrift Store

If you’re donating to a thrift store, you should only give clothing that has a chance of selling because that’s the purpose of a thrift store. Organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army do recycle clothes but it’s not their mission to keep clothes out of landfills. Their intention is to sell items to fund various programs that help people in local communities. This has become complicated because they get more clothing then they can sell, which includes textiles that are in poor condition. The Salvation Army and Goodwill never asked for people to drop off damaged or worn-out clothing but it happens anyway. Now, these organizations are burdened with large quantities of clothing that require different disposal methods. I wrote a blog post that addresses this topic: Donating Clothes to The Salvation Army | Everything you Need to Know.

  • Resell Your Clothes

If you have a closet filled with wearable clothing, then might as well try to make some extra money. There are many platforms and apps you can use to sell your old clothes. 

8 best apps for selling clothes.

3. Disposal methods for furniture.

  • Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity will take decent quality furniture along with construction material. The items that you donate to Habitat for Humanity are sold at their restores and the money is used to build affordable housing. If you can’t bring your items to a restore, then you can schedule a Habitat for Humanity pick-up through Donations Town.

 What are all the items Habitat for Humanity Accepts?

  • Craigslist 

 If you have furniture that’s a little iffy but could be useful to someone, then I’d recommend using Craigslist. There are many people who search for free Craigslist items on a regular basis. In fact, people rely on Craigslist as an essential part of their business. It has a reputation for providing great returns for flippers and resellers. The free items section on Craigslist attracts entrepreneurs who have that “another man’s trash is another’s man’s treasure” mentality. This is why it is the best platform to advertise your unwanted furniture.

Here’s how you create a furniture listing on Craigslist. 

If you’re really desperate to get rid of your stuff, you can try setting up a curb alert on Craigslist.

  • The Salvation Army or Goodwill

Both The Salvation Army and Goodwill take furniture. This includes but is not limited to; dressers, desks, bed frames, dining sets, end tables, night stands, coffee tables, book shelves, patio sets, chairs, stools, and probably some furniture I can’t think of. Make sure your donations have minimal damage and good structural integrity.

The Salvation Army has a pick-up service that you can access online or with the 1-800-SA-TRUCK telephone number.

For Goodwill you have to contact your local store to see if there’s a pickiup service.

  • Junk Removal Services

Again, junk removal services will take pretty much anything except hazardous waste. This includes being able to take damaged furniture off your hands.

Best Junk Removal Services and in-depth reviews.

If you live in Florida or Texas, consider using the Junk Shot app.

4. Disposal methods for knick-knacks and glassware.

  • Thrift Stores

If your fragile items are not chipped, scratched, or broken, then thrift stores will take them. Just remember to put breakable donations in a box or bin so it’s easier and safer to transport

  • Pottery Repair Shops

If you do have broken fragiles, then consider searching for a pottery repair shop near you. These places might be able to restore the value of whatever broken items you have.

  • Safely get rid of your glass

Glass recycling in America is not very good

If you throw out your broken glass, make sure you do it safely. Wrap the broken pieces in paper towels and put it in a sealed container before placing it in your garbage can.

5. Disposal methods for electronics.

  • Best Buy

Best Buy will recycle any tube T.V less than 32 inches but you have to pay a $25 fee. 

*Locations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut do not accept T.V drop offs.

Best Buy also recycles an assortment of other items. This includes audio equipment, electronic devices, and much more. 

What are all the items Best Buy recycles?

Best Buy also has haul-away options for bigger objects if you purchase a replacement to be delivered to your house. 

  • Staples

Staples recycles computers, printers, copiers, small devices and many more electronic items.

What are all the items Staples recycles?

  • Microsoft

If you give your old Apple, Samsung, or Google phone to Microsoft, you can save up to $700 on a brand new phone. For more information check the Microsoft website.

AT&T and Verizon also have trade in programs.

6. Disposal methods for miscellaneous items.

  • Office Depot | OfficeMax

Office Depot recycles used ink and toner cartridges. You will get $2 in rewards for every cartridge you donate.

  • Best Buy Haul-away

Best Buy has pickup options for large appliances and TVs if you get a replacement delivered.

Let’s say you buy a replacement for an old washer. If you have that replacement delivered by GeekSquad or Best Buy Home Delivery, then they will also take the old washer off your hands for a $25 fee. The old washer will then be recycled by a third party. For more info check the Best Buy website.

  • Habitat for Humanity

Along with furniture, Habitat for Humanity accepts a variety of construction materials and home decor.

 What are all the items Habitat for Humanity Accepts?

  • Animal Shelters

Animal shelters have many expenses so sometimes donations can be quite useful. For example, old t-shirts can be made into chew toys and other scraps of fabric can be used for bedding. Another good donation might be towels for drying and grooming. Just make sure to contact your local animal shelter first to see what items they actually need.

Ten items that may be useful to give to animal shelters.

Hope this post was useful to you.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

Vandalism, Theft, and Dumping Your Junk | How COVID-19 affects The Salvation Army

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Hello, I am a part-time employee that takes donations for The Salvation Army. I want to address an issue that has been on my mind lately. But to better understand the situation, I think it’s important to describe my typical workday.

The store that I work for takes donations from 9:30 am – 6:00 pm. My job is to take people’s donations with a greeting and a thank you. I also write out receipts for anyone who wants to get a tax deduction from charitable donations. Throughout the day, I load all the donations into a trailer. When 6 o’clock comes around I lock the donations trailer along with the entrance gate and then I go home. The issue that I want to address is people leaving their items on the property after the donation center is already closed down. 

Why would someone leave their stuff if it’s not going to be secured in the trailer? 

I think there are two reasons why someone would do this.

1. People have busy schedules and can only donate their items after 6:00. 

2. People have poor quality items that they know The Salvation Army won’t take, so they wait until the donation centers are closed to drop off their stuff. 

These two examples may seem unlikely but they’re not. Leaving stuff at The Salvation Army when donation centers are closed is a common occurrence. 

Why is it bad to leave stuff on The Salvation Army property?

  • When stuff is not secured in a trailer or dropbox it’s vulnerable to theft and vandalism. 

You may think that leaving your items out in the open isn’t such a bad thing. If The Salvation Army sells the donations to fund their programs for the needy, who cares if poor people take some for themselves? 

Well here’s what that looks like.

Thieves are always searching the donations centers when The Salvation Army is closed. It’s usually only a few people that scrounge the items. They rip open bags and boxes taking only the items that they want, leaving a mess in the process. As they continue to dig through the donations, they’re stepping on all the clothes that they left on the ground. Often times these individuals are not in the right state of mind. Sometimes they even piss on the clothes and litter on the property. 

When the donations are secured in a trailer they are sold for reuse. The money that The Salvation Army makes is used to fund the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC). These centers are where people who are trying to recover from drug and alcohol addiction are given work and a sense of direction. Many of these individuals use The Salvation Army as a stepping stone, to kick start their careers in other felids. It’s a chance for people who have hit rock bottom to turn their lives around.

Maybe you don’t like that The Salvation Army sells the donations for a profit but there are still better alternatives then leaving your stuff out in the open.

If you want to give your items directly to someone in need try contacting a local homeless shelter. Just don’t leave your stuff on The Salvation Army property if it’s not going to be secured.

  •  Leaving items that are in poor condition hurts the organization. 

As I mentioned before people like to drop off their unwanted items when The Salvation Army isn’t accepting donations. This is due to the minimalist movement that has people decluttering their homes. People are in such a rush to get rid of their stuff they become desperate. The desperation from these individuals creates a dumper’s mentality. Meaning that some people are more than willing the leave their stuff no matter the consequence. It gets to the point where people are leaving items that are damaged and disgusting. Giving unusable items to The Salvation Army hurts the funding for their programs. This is because it costs money to dispose of poor quality items. Don’t treat The Salvation Army like a free dump. It may be convenient for you but it hurts a lot of people that depend on The Salvation Army.

How COVID-19 is Affecting The Salvation Army 

As you know COVID-19 has spread worldwide and has killed over a hundred thousand people. To slow down the spread of the virus everyone is taking necessary precautions. This includes social distancing which has resulted in isolation and a shutdown of all nonessential businesses. The isolation caused by the virus has given people a lot of spare time to declutter their homes. Some of these people are looking to The Salvation Army to take their unwanted items. This is bad for The Salvation Army because the donations centers are closed and the item won’t be regulated. As a result there will be more theft, vandalisim, and dumping than usual, which means diposal costs will increase for The Salvation Army. Since the thrift stores are closed as well, a huge bulk of the normal funding will asbsent for the programs that people use to turn their lives around.

I’m not asking you donate money to The Salvation Army I’m just asking you not to make the situation worse. If you have items that you want to donate keep them in your house until the donation centers are open again or find other ways to dispose of them.

Is The Salvation Army clearing this stuff?

Yes, The Salvation Army is using its trucks and trailers to clear out all the items from the donation centers. This doesn’t make it ok to drop your stuff, especially if its junk. The donation centers are still left unregulated for the majority of the time.

When will The Salvation Army be open again?

I’m not sure when The Salvation Army will be open again. It all depends on when the restrictions are lifted.

How is The Salvation Army helping people during COVID-19?

The people that are the most susceptible to catching the virus are people that are homeless because they have nowhere to isolate themselves. To help solve this problem The Salvation Army is using some of its locations as quartine stations for the unsheltered. Here people will be fed 3 warm meals a day and will be under the cautious care of The Salvation Army. These locations have two sections of bedding. One section is for the people who are showing symptoms but haven’t been tested yet, the other section is for people who have already tested positive for the virus. All of the beds are separated by 10 ft. Even with the social distancing restrictions, these locations are as comfortable as possible. The Salvation Army is using its resources to provide mobile shower and laundry units, along with toilet facilities. They have T.Vs and jigsaw puzzles to pass the time as well. 

The Salvation Army is also still trying to provide feeding assistance for anyone who needs it.

Is Thrifting Good or Bad?

I think thrift store shopping is not only good, but it’s also important. The reason I think this is because finding a use for second-hand items has many positive impacts. 

But before I get into the positives, I think it’s necessary to bring up some criticisms that people have of thrift store shopping.

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  • Thrift stores are dirty and unsanitary.

This is a common complaint because funky odors can leave people with a bad first impression when they enter a thrift store. There’s also a fear that being in contact with used clothing can cause allergic reactions. These concerns are understandable but I don’t think it should prevent anyone from thrifting. The reason being, there are ways to avoid these problems to better enjoy your thrift shopping experience. It’s also very unlikely for thrift stores to harm anyone. Lots of people of all levels of income shop at thrift stores every day knowing that they’re entering a stuffy environment and they come out just fine.

  • Thrifting takes resources away from poor people.

The other concern is that people who shop at thrift stores as a hobby or to resell take away needed resources from lower-income individuals. For example, there has been some backlash against people who repurpose oversized thrift store clothing. The argument is that poor plus-size individuals have a hard time finding clothing, so thinner individuals should not buy from the plus-sized section. Here’s a video that received some criticism.

I find nothing wrong with the intent of this video. The two articles of clothing she redesigned were a men’s buttoned-up shirt and a big pair of pocketless women’s jeans. To me, this was no more than a tutorial of how to upcycle thrift store clothing that just happens to be too big, or in large supply. I mean you should see how many long-sleeved dress shirts we have at The Salvation Army. And she said at the end of the video that there are a whole bunch of pocketless jeans in thrift stores. It seems to me that she was just influencing people to turn oversupplied clothing into something unique.  

I know that plus-size people have a harder time finding clothing. I agree that thinner people should not buy clothing in the plus-size section for the sole purpose of making a fashion statement. But I’ll I say it again I don’t think that was the intent of her video and I don’t think it’s the intent of the upcycling movement. My observation is that the upcycling movement has two purposes. One, it encourages people to identify clothing that doesn’t sell in thrift stores and to turn it into something fashionable. Two, the movement gives people the skillset to make changes to clothing that fits them better. This could mean slightly altering the size of something that’s a little too big or recreating an old fashioned design into something more modern. Overall I think upcycling is great. This brings me to my first reason why thrifting is good.

1. There is plenty of clothing, actually, there is too much clothing.

As I kind of mentioned before I work part-time at The Salvation Army. I see first hand how much waste we cause as a society. The store that I work for alone receives 5-6 thousand pieces of clothing every day. All clothing is given a month to sell. Have you ever wondered what happens to the clothing that doesn’t sell within the month? I wrote a blog post on this topic “Donating Clothes to The Salvation Army | Everything You Need to Know”. It explains how The Salvation Army tries its best to repurpose all the clothing they receive. In short, the clothing that doesn’t sell at the thrift stores is tried in public auctions and buy by the pound sales. Yes, that’s right there are sales where you can buy a pound of clothing for 87 cents. My store has these at the end of every month. Even with these efforts, there is still a surplus of good quality clothing. The best of the remaining clothing is sold to oversaturated second-hand markets overseas. The biggest bulk of leftover clothing is sold to textile recycling companies all around the world. Unsalvagable clothing is sent to the landfills. We need to find solutions as a society to limit waste. This is why it’s awesome that we have people thrifting and upcycling clothes. 

2.  Individual Pursuit

Thrifting is an avenue to creativity and entrepreneurship. Walking into a thrift store can be intimidating at first but if you stick around you may start to get some ideas. Maybe it’s fixing up and repainting a worn down piece of furniture. It could be upcycling an article of clothing that would otherwise be unsold. Perhaps it’s as simple as finding vintage clothing for a unique outfit. Then there’s always reselling and creating a market for cool second-hand items. All of these things are great because they build up the demand for used items. But does this demand hurt low-income individuals? People who work 9-5 jobs and have a family to provide for, can’t shop as much as dedicated thrifters. Are all the quality clothes taken before poor people even have a chance to browse the stores? I would say no. The thing about thrifters is that they’re selective of the things they buy. Meaning that vintage shoppers and resellers seek clothing with graphics and designs that fit a certain style or marketplace. Most of these individuals have a specific selection process that still leaves quality clothing on the racks.

3. Helping a cause and giving back to a community. 

The are many nonprofit organizations in the US that use the profits from their thrift stores to fund programs that help people. 

  • Employment

Organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Deseret Industries employ people that would otherwise have a difficult time getting jobs. This could be anyone with mental disabilities, the homeless, or people recovering from addiction. Often times these individuals acquire skills that help them get jobs in other fields. 

  • Assisting the Homeless

Another common cause is assisting the homeless. Organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army use their resources to provide food, shelter, and clothes to poor people in different communities. Habitats for Humanity builds and renovates homes for low-income families and individuals.

  • Disaster Relief

Goodwill distributes resources to victims of natural disasters. The Salvation Army has a disaster relief program that provides mobile feeding assistance and temporary shelter that helps people all over the world when disasters hit. I wrote a post about 10 Natural Disasters and How The Salvation Army Helped. Habitats for Humanity helps too by literally rebuilding communities after crises.

Charity shops in the UK also fund many causes.

As always thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

22 Cheap Items You Can Buy at The Salvation Army

Are you searching the internet to find the cheapest products? Whether it’s reading contradicting Amazon reviews or dealing with random people via online market places, finding affordable items can be a pain. If you have not found any luck on the internet maybe its time to try a thrift store.

Hi, I’m The Salvation Army Donation Guy, here’s a list of 22 items you can buy at The Salvation Army family stores. A price range will be provided for each item.

1. Mattress/Boxspring Set   *Not available for all locations.

You have to buy mattresses and boxsprings together. All mattress sets are refurbished and sanitized. If the location your shopping at does have mattress sets they will be in the back, not on the sales floor. So just ask an employee if they have mattresses.

Costs may vary for different locations but they will be around these prices.

Twin Mattress Set- $199.99

Full Mattress Set- $249.99

Queen Mattress Set- $299.99

King Mattress Set- $349.99

2. Bikes

The store that I work for usually has 4 to 5 bikes on the floor at all times. People tend to donate these pretty often. We get bikes of all sizes and colors, for children, women, and men.

Low Price: $5.00 | High Price: $83.00

3. Dressers

Dressers, desks, dining sets, bookshelves, and couches are just some of the common furniture pieces The Salvation Army sells.

Low Price: $10.00 | High Price: $200.00  *my estimate of dresser’s pricing

You can click here to see other furniture The Salvation Army sells.

4. Rugs

There are usually about 5-10 rugs hung up in the store that I work in. Don’t worry, an employee will help you get a rug down if you want to buy one. Also, all the rugs are sanitized before being displayed to the public.

Low Price: $21.00 | High Price: $93.00 

5. Lamps

The Salvation Army sells table lamps and floor lamps. Lamps are very common donations. More so table lamps but floor lamps are a regular occurrence as well.

Low Price: $5.00 | High Price $78.00

6.  Microwaves 

Microwaves are donated quite frequently to The Salvation Army. They can be found in the electronics category. Other electronic items include coffee pots, popcorn machines, toasters, waffle makers, portable grills, juicers, blenders, hair irons, alarm clocks, night lights, CDs, DVDs, VCRs, DVD players, speakers, and electric fans.

Low Price: $10.00 | High Price $50.00

7. Books

The Salvation Army sells both hardcover and softcover books. You can find a wide selection of books at any of our thrift stores. Many genres are donated to The Salvation Army. There could be anything from mysteries like the James Patterson novels to helpful lifestyle books. There are also a lot of fictional novels and how-to books. Sometimes popular series like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games are donated as well.

Low Price: $.75 | High Price: $3.00

8. Pots and Pans 

Pots, pans, and kitchen supplies are in the brick a brac category. This category also includes mugs, dishes, and glassware. 

Low Price: $1.00 | High Price: $15.00 *my estimate

9. Picture Frames

Pictures frames, pictures, paintings, and mirrors can all be found at The Salvation Army.

Low Price: $5.00 | High Price: $207.00  *Most are not crazy expensive.

10. Boots

People donate shoes all the time to The Salvation Army. I’ve seen lots of women’s boots in the store and occasionally you can find some high-end shoes for good prices. Work boots and children’s boots are donated less frequently but they do come in once in a while. 

Low Price: $3.00 | High Price: $20.00  *children boots pricing

11. Jewelry

The store that I work for has a whole counter dedicated to jewelry a.k.a a jewelry counter. As a matter of fact, this counter contains all types of jewelry. We have necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, belt buckles, and occasionally watches. Most of the jewelry isn’t real metal but we have a magnet just in case.

Low Price $3.00 | High Price: $15.00  *my estimate

12. Hats

The Salvation Army receives a wide variety of hats from donations. The selection includes anything from sports caps to cowboy hats. We get all different types of hats for both men and women.

Low Price: $1.00 | High Price: $8.00

13. Purses

The Salvation Army always has a good selection of purses and handbags.

Low Price: $2.00 | High Price: $21.00

14. Luggage

The Salvation Army receives many different types of suitcases, travel bags, computer bags, and duffel bags. 

Low Price: $5.00 | High Price $16.00

15. Belts

We have a large variety of belts with different sizes and designs. There are belts for women, men, and children.

Low Price: $1.00 | High Price: $5.00  *my estimate 

16. Notebooks

In the stationary section, you can find notebooks along with paper, folders, and binders. There may also be pens, pencils, and craft supplies.

Low Price: $1.00 | High Price: $5.00 *my estimate

17. Scrubs

The store that I work in has a clothing rack in the women’s section dedicated to scrubs.

Low Price $5.00 | High Price $20.00 *my estimate

18. Hoodies

Both the men’s and women’s clothing sections have racks dedicated to hoodies and other long-sleeved clothing. 

Low Price $3.00 | High Price $12.00

19. Baby and children’s clothes (both boys and girls)

The Baby section includes but is not limited to; t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, onesies, sleepers, pants, and pajamas.

Children’s clothing includes t-shirts, polos, dress shirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jackets, khakis, sweat pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, shorts, cargo shorts, leggings, compression shirts, sleeveless shirts, pajamas, bathing suits.

Low Price: $2.00 | High Price: $26.00 *based on children’s clothes pricing.

20. Jeans

Jeans are sold in both men’s and women’s clothing sections. The Salvation Army also sells leggings, yoga pants, and other athletic material.

Low Price: $4.00 | High Price: $12.00 *based on pricing for long pants.

21. Lingerie

Loose/comfortable night clothing for women is put on a separate clothing rack. This includes nightgowns, bras, and other intimate/sleepwear clothing.

Low Price: $4.00 | High Price: $12.00 *based on nightgown’s pricing.

22. Maternity Clothes

Any clothing that accommodates pregnant women is put on a separate clothing rack and is called our maternity section.

Low Prices: $4.00 | High Price: $20.00  *my estimate

The items on this list are not the only items The Salvation Army sells.

Here’s a list of things they do sell.

That’s it for this one.

If you want more informative and entertaining posts about The Salvation Army, click the link below.

All My Posts

As always, thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

What is in a Thrift Store?

Thrift store shopping is an unfamilar subject for a lot of people, especially for people who have never been to a thrift store before. If this applies to you, maybe you’ve wondered what’s inside a thrift store? 

Most thrift stores have an assortment of clothes, accessories, knick-knacks, dishes, glassware, lamps, pictures, and a whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff. Bigger thrift stores will probably have furniture as well. 

The question is hard to answer because anything could be in a thrift store. The fun part about thrifting is that you never know what you can come across. Thrift stores are a collection of other people’s memories and past treasures along with lots of random stuff.

With this being said I will try my best to tell you what’s inside a thrift store. As a part-time Salvation Army employee, I hope I can give you an idea of what to expect.

At The Salvation Army, we organize items in a particular way. There are 9 categories of stuff in our stores. The first category is clothing.

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1. Clothing

The biggest category is clothing. All clothing is organized by color not size. We have clothing for men, women, kids, and infants. These 4 sections will have many racks for different types of clothing. Below are all the types of clothing that are in each section.

  • Women’s Clothing

Sleeveless shirts, blouses, t-shirts, button-downs, blazers, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jackets, khakis, capris, sweat pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, shorts, yoga pants, leggings, compression shirts, bras, lingerie, pajamas, robes, scrubs, bathing suits, and maternity

  • Men’s Clothing

T-shirts, polos, short-sleeved dress shirts, long-sleeved dress shirts, blazers, sweaters, jackets, compression shirts, jerseys, khakis, slacks, jeans, cargo shorts, basketball shorts, pajama bottoms, and bathing suits.

  • Kids Clothing (Girls and Boys)

T-shirts, polos, dress shirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jackets, khakis, sweat pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, shorts, cargo shorts, leggings, compression shirts, sleeveless shirts, pajamas, and bathing suits

  • Infants Clothing (Girls and Boys)

Tops, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, onesies, sleepers, pants, and pajamas

2. Accessories

The following are accessories that can be found at The Salvation Army.

  • Shoes 

There will be shoes in the men’s, women’s and kid’s clothing sections. 

Women’s shoes may include but are not limited to; boots, heels, running shoes, sneakers, and sandals. 

Men’s shoes may include but are not limited to; sneakers, running shoes, dress shoes, sandals, vans/skate shoes, and boots.

Children’s shoes may include but are not limited to; running shoes, sneakers, and sandals. 

  • Hats 

The selection of hats includes anything from sports caps to cowboy hats. We get all different types of hats for both men and women.

  • Belts 

The Salvation Army has a large variety of belts with different sizes and designs. There are belts for women, men, and children.

  • Jewelry 

The store that I work in has a jewelry counter that contains necklaces, bracelets,  rings, earrings, belt buckles, and occasionally watches. Most of the jewelry isn’t real metal but we have a magnet just in case.

  • Luggage 

The Salvation Army has many different types of suitcases, travel bags, computer bags, and duffel bags. 

  • Purses

The Salvation Army always has a large selection of purses and handbags.

  • Ties

Ties are well supplied and can be found in the men’s section of stores.

  • Sunglasses and wallets 

Sunglasses and wallets are hit or miss items that may or may not be in the store.

 3. Furniture

Most of The Salvation Army stores will have furniture but some of the smaller stores might not. At the store that I work for the furniture is organized as if it were part of a room in your house. 

Below are common furniture pieces that can be found a The Salvation Army.

Dining sets, coffee tables, nightstands, end tables, tv-stands, dressers, bookshelves, stools, chairs, recliners, love seats, couches, bed frames

Occasionally we receive patio sets and sectionals, but they are less common than the furniture listed above. 

4. Bric a brac

Just like the clothing, the bric a brac category is organized by color. Things like glassware, dishes, mugs, knick-knacks, ornaments, small vases, and figurines can all be found on the same shelves.

Kitchen supplies such as pots, pans, spatulas, and tongs are placed on separated shelving in the bric a brac category .

Items made out of wood also has its own section of shelving in the bric a brac category. Things like hand-carved statues, jewelry boxes, small chests, and small woven baskets can be found in the wood section.

5. Home Decor

  • Picture and Mirrors

At the store that I work in pictures, paintings, and mirrors are hung on the walls throughout the store. There is also a back corner dedicated to extra pictures, paintings, and mirrors along with picture frames.

  • Rugs

There are usually about 5-10 rugs hung up in the store that I work in. All the rugs are sanitized before being displayed to the public.

  • Other Decor

Table lamps, artificial plants, larger vases, and throw pillows can be found on furniture throughout the furniture category. You may be able to find large artificial plants and floor lamps in the furniture category as well.

6. Linens

Bed Spreads, sheets, blankets, towels, hand towels, dish towels, and place mats are just some of the linens that can be found at The Salvation Army stores.

7. Stationary

The stationary corner can have a variety of items. Below are just some of the common items.

Paper, notebooks, binders, folders, pencils, pens, envelopes, thank-you notes, invitations, photo albums, and arts/craft supplies.

8. Electronics

The electronics category has a variety of different items.

  • Electronic Players

DVD Players, CD Players, VCRs, and VHS

  • Small appliances

Microwaves, coffee pots, popcorn machines, toasters, waffle makers, portable grills, juicers, and blenders.

  • Hair Products

Hair irons and blow dryers are common items that can be found in the electronics category.

  • Other electronics

Alarm clocks, reading lamps, speakers, and electric fans.

9. Miscellaneous

  • Books 

The Salvation Army sells both hardcover and softcover books. You can find a wide selection of books at any of our thrift stores. Many genres are donated to The Salvation Army. There could be anything from mysteries like the James Patterson novels to helpful lifestyle books. There are also a lot of fictional novels and how-to books. Sometimes popular series like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games are donated as well.

  • Bikes 

The store that I work for usually has 4 to 5 bikes on the floor at all times. There can be bikes of all sizes and colors, for children, women, and men.

  • Mattresses/box springs *Not included for all stores

You have to buy mattresses and boxsprings together. All mattress sets are refurbished and sanitized. If the location your shopping at does have mattress sets they will be in the back, not on the sales floor. So just ask an employee if they have mattresses.

You can click here for the prices of all mattress set sizes.

  • DVDs and CDs

The Salvation Army has a wide selection of movies and music on CD and DVD.

  • Other random stuff

Crutches, large baskets, adult diapers, lawn chairs, sports water bottles, and other outdoor equipment.

And that’s all of the 9 categories. Just to make things clear, these are not all the items that are in The Salvation Army thrift stores. These are just some of the common items that you have a good chance of seeing.

I appreciate you reading this post.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

Donating Clothing to The Salvation Army | Everything you Need to Know.

Hey, it’s The Salvation Army Donations Guy. In this post, I will be telling you everything you need to know about donating your clothes to The Salvation Army. Many of you probably have old clothing that you want to get rid of but you’re not sure if it’s a good idea to donate. That’s why I’m here to give you the most useful information so you can make your most informed decision about what you want to do with your old clothes.

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What clothing can you donate?

You can donate any clothing that is in decent condition. This means clothing that has rips, stains, holes, or smelly odors should not be donated. Another thing you can take into consideration is donating clothes that are practical for the season or climate. For example, donating jackets and hoodies in October or November would be an awesome donation, because they can be sold for the winter season. 

Do you have to wash clothes before you donate them?

Yes, washing the clothes before you donate is important for a couple of reasons.

1. The Salvation Army does not wash the clothing that gets donated. Most thrift stores don’t because it would cost too much money to wash such large quantities of clothing.

2. Smelly/dirty clothing is unbearable for the people that sort the clothing donations. Cigarette, poop, sweat, and other odors can stink up the store as well which is unappealing to the customers. This is why clothes often get ragged or thrown away.

3. Dirty clothing can also affect the safety of workers and customers. Pet hair, dust, mold, and certain fabrics can cause allergic reactions if clothes are not washed.

Should you put your clothes in bags when you donate? 

Yes, donate your clothes in bags that you’re willing to give away. This is necessary because items that get donated are packed in trailers and transported to a processing center. Having clothing in bags makes it easier for the employees to unload and process the donations. Garbage bags are convenient to use because they can contain a lot of clothes and are easy to tie. Just make sure not to overfill the bags because they might rip.

If you are an environmentally conscious person you may tend to use paper bags. This is fine but paper bags are hard to tie so clothes that are being transported may fall out. The best eco-friendly option may be to put your clothes in biodegradable garbage bags.

What happens to your clothes after you donate?

Most of the things you donate are sent to a processing center or a warehouse. This is where they decide what to do with the clothing. The Salvation Army has 4 methods to reuse and repurpose the clothing.

1. The best of the clothing is sold at Salvation Army family stores. The clothing has 4 weeks to sell.

2. Clothing that isn’t sold at the stores is sold at the auctions or buy by the pound sales

3. If the clothing is unsold after that it is put into bales and sold overseas.

4. Leftover clothes that aren’t good enough for overseas markets are baled up and sold to recycling companies all around the world as rags.

Unsalvageable clothes are sent to landfills, this is the last resort.

What does The Salvation Army do with their money?

The money that The Salvation Army makes is used to fund programs that help people in need. 

  • Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC)

Much of the funding is directed towards the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC). These centers are where people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are given work and a sense of direction. Many individuals use The Salvation Army as a stepping stone, to kick start their careers in other felids. It’s a chance for people who have hit rock bottom to turn their lives around.

  • Assisting the Homeless

The Salvation Army Community Centers give the homeless and struggling families a temporary place to stay. Here they are served hot food and assisted in finding a more permanent housing solution. 

During the holiday season, The Salvation Army seeks to provide warm meals and a bed for every homeless person.

  • Disaster Relief

When natural disasters hit, The Salvation Army does its best to help the affected people and communities. Having locations and centers all around the world gives The Salvation Army a unique advantage in their relief efforts. They have provided shelter for victims from all over the world. Whether its hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, or diseases The Salvation Army does its best to provide support and emotional care. Another reason The Salvation Army is so effective is because of its ability to mobilize effectively. Mobile feeding units and field kitchens are able to access the most impacted areas. The Salvation Army is a sight for sore eyes for the people in communities. I wrote a post about 10 natural disasters and how The Salvation Army helped.

The Salvation Army has other programs as well

Are the donated clothes ever given directly to the homeless or people in need?

Yes, some of the clothing is given to people housed in Salvation Army Community Shelters as well as the people in the ARC program. The Salvation Army also gives clothing vouchers for people of low income and victims of natural disasters.

Is it good to donate clothes?

It depends on the quality of the clothing you are donating. Clothes must be in good condition if you want your donation to make a positive impact. The Salvation Army along with other charitable organizations receives large amounts of clothing every day. Even though these charitable organizations do their best to reuse and recycle, clothing still ends up in landfills, left to decompose. The sad thing is, this outcome is inevitable because Americans buy so much clothing. This is due to the rise of fast fashion in the Western Hemisphere. Since a large amount of cheap clothing is produced there is a surplus of second-hand clothing in America. It’s has got to the point where clothes sent from America, into developing countries hurt more than they help. Developing countries have become dependent on clothing imports which undermines their local textile industries. These clothes are also a major threat to the environment because developing countries don’t have large textile recycling companies. “More often than not, I saw fabric scraps and textiles in the garbage, burned, or washed out with the tide, all places that we definitely don’t want our clothing to be (Cook 5)”. It’s unfortunate that there’s so much excess clothing and waste in our society. The Salvation Army does what it can do to make use of the clothing they receive, but there’s no perfect solution to this problem.

Should you donate to The Salvation Army?

I’m not here to tell you where you should and shouldn’t donate. If you like what The Salvation Army does by funding its programs than feel free to donate. But there are many good charitable organizations. Maybe you prefer donating to smaller nonprofits that you know will give clothes directly to someone who needs it. Either way, the fact that your searching for the best solutions to getting rid of your old clothing shows that you care. If you’re still unsure of what to do below is a link to an article that may help you.

What is the Best Way to Dispose of Unwanted Clothing?

Where can I drop off clothes for donations?

If you want to donate clothes to The Salvation Army you can find a donations center around you.

You can also schedule a pick-up and an SA Truck will pick up your clothing.

Thanks for reading this post!

I hope you find the best use for your old clothing.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

Shopping at Salvation Army Thrift Stores | Things to Know

Shopping at Salvation Army Thrift Stores | Things to Know

Hello, its The Salvation Army donations guy. This post answers frequently asked questions that people have about shopping at The Salvation Army. As a part-time employee, I hope I can give you some useful information.

#1 What hours are The Salvation Army stores open?

The Salvation Army stores are open every day but Sunday. They usually open at 10:00 am but closing hours may vary for different locations. The hours are longer on Wednesday because of the 50% off clothing sale.

Below are the hours for the store that I work for, but again this might not be the exact hours for other locations.

Monday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Tuesday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Wednesday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Thursday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Friday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Saturday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Sunday: Store is closed, but donation centers may be open.

#2 What does The Salvation Army sell at their thrift stores?

Below is a list of common things you can buy at Salvation Army thrift stores.

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#3 How much do these items cost at The Salvation Army?

The Salvation Army Donations Value Guide gives estimated costs for most of these items.

#4 How much do mattresses/boxsprings cost at The Salvation Army? *not available for every location

You have to buy mattresses and boxsprings together. All mattress sets are refurbished. Costs may vary for different locations but they will be around these prices.

Twin Mattress Set- $199.99

Full Mattress Set- $249.99

Queen Mattress Set- $299.99

King Mattress Set- $349.99

#5 What day is The Salvation Army Discount Day?

Every Wednesday is half off all clothing and accessories (not jewelry). The hours are always extended for sale days. Come in early if you want a shopping cart.

#6 What do the different color price tags mean?

The Salvation Army store that I work for has 4 colored price tags (blue, yellow, green, and white). Every week one of these colors is half off.

Each color will have a different number. Let’s say blue tags have the number 15, yellow tags have the number 16, green tags have the number 17, and white tags have the number 18. The numbers represent the week the items were put out on the floor. In this scenario, items with blue tags were put out on week 15 which means those items were on the floor longer than the other items. So items with blue tags would be 50% off for the current week because they would have had the most time to sell. After the week is over any remaining items with blue tags would be moved off the floor. Yellow tags with the number 16 would then be half off for the next week. The new items coming onto the floor would have blue tags with the number 19. The cycle would then repeat.

#7 What happens to the stuff that doesn’t sell?

The items that don’t sell within a month at The Salvation Army thrift stores are sold for repurpose.

  • If the items don’t sell in the stores they are auctioned or sold in buy by the pound sales.
  • If the items don’t sell after the buy by the pound sales they are sold overseas.
  • Clothing and other recyclable goods are also sold to textile and other recycling companies.

Sending items to landfills is the last resort.

#8 Does The Salvation Army have Holiday Sales?

Yes, on certain holidays The Salvation Army has sales. Some sales are just clothes while others could be for everything in the entire store. Discounts may vary depending on location.

Below are the holidays that these sales occur.

New Years

MLK Day

Presidents Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Black Friday

#9 Why are the clothes organized by color, not size?

The Salvation Army organizes everything by color for visual appeal and customer satisfaction. However, some people think it would be more convenient if clothes were organized by size. I think it depends on what the customer’s motivation is. If customers are looking to put together an outfit then the color organization could be useful. But customers who want clothes for work, for casual, or for their kids probably just want to know the sizes. Resellers, I’m guessing would have no preference because their just looking for opportunities to make a profit.

#10 Does The Salvation Army have plus size clothing?

Yes, The Salvation Army receives a bunch of clothing of various sizes and styles. The women’s section has an area specifically for plus size clothing but the men’s section does not. So you just have to search through the racks to find men’s plus size clothing.

#11 Does The Salvation Army wash clothes before selling them?

No, The Salvation Army does not wash their clothes. They get large quantities of clothing every day. Washing and drying these clothes would take too much time and too many resources.

#12 Does The Salvation Army wash and sanitize furniture?

Yes, all furniture is processed and checked to make sure it is in good condition. Couches and mattresses/boxsprings are washed and sanitized. Anything that needs to be assembled is assembled beforehand to make sure all the components are together before selling. 

#13 How does buying furniture work at The Salvation Army?

When you enter a Salvation Army thrift store you will most likely see a selection of furniture. At the store that I work for customers can rip off the bottom part of a furniture tag if they want to buy a certain piece. But I would ask an employee first if you’re interested in buying a piece of furniture. When you’ve selected your desired furniture you can go to the register and pay for it. The cashier will ask if you’re ready to take the furniture now, or if you want The Salvation Army to hold it until you get a proper vehicle. If you’re ready to take your furniture an employee will move it through the store to a pickup area. You will have to drive around back to pick-up your furniture. Show your receipt to the employees and they will help you load the furniture into your vehicle. Just know that employees cannot load furniture on top of your vehicle, also they are not allowed to tie down any furniture. This is due to liability issues.

If you’re not ready to take your purchased furniture The Salvation Army can hold it for 3-5 days. If you need more time call the store to let them know. When you do come to pick-up your furniture make sure you have your receipt. If you lost your receipt, you can show a driver’s license to confirm the name that the furniture is under.

#14 What good does The Salvation Army do?

The money that The Salvation Army makes is used to help people that are in dire situations. 

  • Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC)

Much of the funding is directed towards the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC). These centers are where people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are given work and a sense of direction. Many individuals use The Salvation Army as a stepping stone, to kick start their careers in other felids. It’s a chance for people who have hit rock bottom to turn their lives around.

  • Assisting the Homeless

The Salvation Army Community Centers give the homeless and struggling families a temporary place to stay. Here they are served hot food and assisted in finding a more permanent housing solution. 

During the holiday season, The Salvation Army seeks to provide warm meals and a bed for every homeless person.

  • Disaster Relief

When natural disasters hit, The Salvation Army does its best to help the affected people and communities. Having locations and centers all around the world gives The Salvation Army a unique advantage in their relief efforts. They have provided shelter for victims from all over the world. Whether its hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, or diseases The Salvation Army does its best to provide support and emotional care. Another reason The Salvation Army is so effective is because of its ability to mobilize effectively. Mobile feeding units and field kitchens are able to access the most impacted areas. The Salvation Army is a sight for sore eyes for the people in those communities. I wrote a post about 10 natural disasters and how The Salvation Army helped.

The Salvation Army has other programs as well. 

If you were informed or entertained by this post fell free to check out some of my other posts.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

Moving? How The Salvation Army Can Help.

Moving can be a very stressful process, especially if you have a lot of stuff that you need to get rid of. There’s only so much room in a U Haul truck so you need to be selective of the things you need. This will most likely result in a surplus of things you don’t need. Disposing of this stuff is harder than you may think. Using a dump can be useful but you will probably be charged for using one. Selling your stuff at yard sales or online markets can be effective, but there’s no guarantee that your stuff will sell. So how do you get rid of your stuff?

You can donate your stuff to The Salvation Army.

No, The Salvation Army is not a free dump. We will not take your trash, litter, or broken items. We also will not take Items with severe rips, stains, scratches, or cracks.

You’re Encouraged to Donate “gently used” items.

The Salvation Army emphasizes the term “gently used” for stuff that you can donate. This just means that the items need to be sellable. Sometimes people bring things that are not sellable. For Example, clothes with stains or smelly odors are not sellable. Dressers with water damage are not sellable. Bookshelves with no structural integrity are not sellable.

What About Minor Damage?

There is a little bit of a grey area when it comes to items with “minor damage”. Let’s say you have a perfectly good dresser but there is a scratch on one of its edges.

As someone who accepts donations at one of our stores, I would take this. But I can’t guarantee that another location would take that same dresser. There is no clear cut policy on what damage is acceptable and what damage isn’t. It’s all based on the perception of what is sellable.  

Just be honest when you’re donating. Don’t try to hide damage or rush an employee into taking your furniture.

What Are the Ways You Can Donate Your Stuff?

One way of donating is at one of our donation centers. This is the best option if your capable of bringing your stuff to one of our donation centers. 

The other way is by scheduling a pickup. You can call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825). You can choose a day to schedule a pickup, and a truck will come between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on that day to pick up the stuff at your house.

You can also click here to schedule a pickup.

Put your Items in Boxes or Bags.

It is important to contain your loose items. The stuff that is donated will most likely be traveling to a processing center. Put glassware and other fragile things in boxes to prevent breakage. Clothes should be in bags that are tied so nothing falls out. These precautions make it easier and safer for the people unloading the trailers.

You can buy cardboard boxes from Home Depot or maybe even free on the Facebook marketplace.

Putting clothes in garbage bags is the most convenient way to donate clothes. But if you’re worried about the environment you may tend to use paper bags. This is fine, but it’s hard to tie a paper bag, so your stuff may fall out of the bag during a long trip. The best option for eco-friendly people may be biodegradable garbage bags that you can buy on Amazon.

So what are all the things The Salvation Army takes?

The link below is a guide that lists all the stuff you can and cannot donate along with other important rules.

The Salvation Army Donations Guide

Good luck with your move.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy

10 Times The Salvation Army Helped During Natural Disasters |Salvation Army Disaster Relief

 Every individual is faced with tragedy and sadness at some point in their life. There are just some things that no one can control. Maybe it’s financial struggles like losing a job or being unable to make ends meet. Some issues could be personal like losing a loved one or being diagnosed with an illness. Either way, It takes resilience, faith, and hard work to get through difficult situations. These types of situations burden individuals and families all over the world. But some challenges are bigger than any one individual or family. Some challenges need a community. 

When natural disasters intrude on populated land they induce much pain, destruction, and financial instability throughout cities and towns. People are left stranded, with empty stomachs, and their homes reduced to piles of debris. Countless suffer injuries and for some, maybe even death. During these times of tolling emotional and physical trauma, aid must be given.

10 Times The Salvation Army helped communities when natural disasters hit.

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1. Hurricane Katrina | Late August 2005

With a category 5 Hurricane surging towards the Gulf of Mexico southern states like Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi were vulnerable to life-threatening conditions. Communities in Louisiana were the most impacted by the storm due to poor engineering and unreliable levees. Levees are dams that are supposed to block water from getting onto land. When the forceful winds of Katrina hit, the levees could not hold the water, which led to an invasion of flooding in Louisiana. Making contact as a category 3 hurricane, Katrina ruined 300,000 homes and left 770,000 people displaced as 80% of New Orleans went underwater. Katrina killed 1,833 people and caused $125 billion dollars in damage. The economy was also affected long term because the southern states suffered setbacks in their tourism, oil and manufacturing industries. This makes Katrina the most costly storm in U.S history. 

Hurricane Katrina summoned The Salvation Army’s biggest disaster relief effort to date. In order to feed individuals that were displaced from their homes action needed to be taken. The Salvation Army sent 178 mobile feeding units in addition to 11 field kitchens to be set up in the most affected areas. Victims of the storm were happy to have hot meals, sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. The Salvation Army continued its efforts by distributing cleaning supplies and food packages to the most impacted areas. Fulfilling the demand for assistance, after Katrina hit, was one of The Salvation Army’s greatest challenges. 

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

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2. Black Saturday BushFire | February 2009

The Black Saturday BushFire in Victoria, Australia is often considered the largest natural disaster in Australia’s history. Wildfires are a common threat in Australia because of its normally dry environment along with increased heat and humidity during specific times of the year. But In February of 2009 some individuals decided to intentionally knock down power lines to cause a fire. This crime is known as arson and is the cause of 13% of wildfires every year in Australia. During the time of the Black Saturday BushFire Victoria was experiencing a major heatwave which exacerbated the problem. The wildfire was able to spread 2,790 miles, burning 2,029 homes and killing 173 people. The Black Saturday BushFire damage cost was more than $1 billion.

The Salvation Army was an active presence during the relief efforts in Australia. When the Black Saturday BushFire ensued, many victims were affected along with the brave firefighters who arrived at the scene. The Salvation Army was able to assist these individuals by providing food, water, clothing, and first aid kits. During this effort The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in the town of Kilmore was burned to the ground. Fortunately, everybody was safely evacuated from the building.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

3. Earthquake in Haiti | January 2010

Haiti was (and still is) the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With a failing economy and unreliable infrastructure the last thing Haiti needed was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake to hit the island. Haiti had already endured a 2008 hurricane season that caused flooding, mudslides, and the death of 793 people. Recovering for those hurricanes was a long process but it did not compare to the destruction and despair that the 2010 earthquake caused. When the buildings of Haiti crumbled to the ground, many people were trapped by the incoming rubble. At least 220,000 people died. The survivors were left with serious injuries, open wounds, deprived stomachs, and dead loved ones. A lot of people were forced to live on the streets, while many depended on makeshift tents for shelter. Many Hatians lived day to day with no proper shelter, in a place where food and healthy drinking water were scarce. Many Haitians including kids were facing starvation and dehydration on a daily basis. Kids in Haiti were also without proper education for a long period of time because 4,000 schools were either damaged or destroyed. This horrific earthquake caused $13.34 billion in damage. 

How The Salvation Army Helped. 

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4. Hurricane Sandy | October 2012

Hurricane Sandy was a category 3 hurricane that transformed into the biggest tropical storm that has ever come out of the Atlantic. Reaching 900 miles in diameter Sandy was felt by many. In The Caribbean, Haiti and Cuba endured Sandy when she was a category 2 hurricane. Haiti was hit the worst as roads, schools, hospitals, and many homes suffered severe damage. Cuba saw extensive flooding as 200,000 homes were destroyed and Santiago de Cuba, a major city was badly affected. Jamaica and the Bahamas faced category 1 conditions as they were burdened by flooding, wind, and power outages. A total of 80 people died in the Caribbean (60 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, 2 in the Bahamas, 1 in Jamaica). Sandy was weakened after she ripped through the Caribbean, but shortly regained strength as she approached the United States. 24 states in the US were introduced to a variety of ruthless conditions. When an unexpected cold front from another storm collided with Sandy, rainfall turned into snow. States like West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee received blizzard conditions that left over a foot of snow. However, states in the northeast like New Jersey and New York received a brutal onslaught of hurricane conditions. It was a full moon when Sandy hit the Jersey Shore. The full moon caused sea tides to rise by 20% which gave Sandy a powerful storm surge heading into New Jersey and New York. In New Jersey streets were flooded, electrical lines went down, and the Ocean City boardwalk was torn apart. Chaos erupted in New York as electrical fires combined with rain, wind, and flooding caused devastation to many homes.  At this point, Sandy was considered a Superstorm because she initiated a variety of environments along with widespread damage, but did not take the form of a Hurricane. During the storm, over 8 million people lost power and a majority of gas stations closed. The Stock Market was also closed for 2 consecutive days. Sandy caused at least 149 deaths in the United States and caused around $70 billion in total damages.

The people in the Caribbean had to endure yet another natural disaster which meant The Salvation Army was faced with another challenge. The Salvation Army personnel that were already assisting Haiti after the 2010 earthquake rationalized their resources in order to help the victims of Sandy. In Jamaica, widespread damage affected everyone on the island. During the eye of the storm, The Salvation Army moved many homeless people into shelters. The homeless along with evacuees were given food and emotional care. In Cuba, The Salvation Army distributed food, water, and supplies to others in need. They also worked to set up temporary shelters for the people that lost their homes. 

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

In the US, The Salvation Army assisted victims all across the east coast. In New York, The Salvation Army and The Red Cross provided food and supplies to eight shelters. The Salvation Army also arranged food and shelter support at two of their own locations, one in Albany and the other in Long Island. In New Jersey, The Salvation Army mobile feeding units were serving hot meals, snacks, and drinks at shelters throughout various counties. Sadly, one of these mobile canteens along with a volunteer vehicle flooded in rising waters at a shelter in Union Beach. The volunteers still continued to serve meals at that shelter. Even with the loss of those vehicles, The Salvation Army New Jersey division still continued to use mobile canteens to feed people that were in need. The Salvation Army also had mobile feeding units in Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. To facilitate the distribution of food and supplies in places that received a lot of snow, The Salvation Army set up feeding programs to make sure everyone had access to those resources. In Pennsylvania and Connecticut meals were being distributed to different shelters in affected communities.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

How The Salvation Army helped in New York and New Jersey after Sandy.

The Salvation Army Hurricane Sandy Response from TheDirector on Vimeo.

5. Hurricane Harvey | August 2017 

As Hurricane Harvey barreled through the southeast of the United States, the people of Texas braced for impact. During the first 24 hours, the storm generated 2 feet of rainfall. This led to major flooding in Texas. One-third of Houston was completely underwater and thousands of people had to be moved into shelters. 93 people died during hurricane Harvey. The harsh winds and flooding of the storm claimed 62 casualties while 26 others died due to unsafe conditions. The storm caused much structural damage to major cities like Houston and Dallas which hurt the economy. According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 4 Hurricane caused $125 billion in damage.

The Salvation Army was a part of the largest disaster relief efforts in history when Hurricane Harvey hit. Many trained disaster workers from all over the US and Canada came down to help out. The Salvation Army also sent 71 mobile feeding units to feed the many victims in Texas. 11 of the mobile feeding units were deployed in Houston serving 1,000 meals a day along with snacks and beverages to many victims. Florida’s division contributed by sending two shower units to The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Thousands of people were able to take showers because of The Salvation Army. For those who still needed shelter, The Salvation Army provided it, with the six locations that were already established in the Houston area. In the Corpus Christi area feeding efforts continued. In Dallas, The Salvation Army provided meals to people who were sheltered at The Dallas Convention Center.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

6. Hurricane Irma | September 2017

Hurricane Irma was the most powerful hurricane to ever come out of the Atlantic. The Category 5 storm hit the Caribbean Islands before making contact with Florida. Islands like Puerto Rico were affected and experienced power outages for long periods of time. Some Islands like Barbuda, the Turks and Caicos, and the east Bahamas were left totally decimated as 185 mph winds and unforgiving rain wreaked havoc. The north border of Cuba was also impacted by Irma as Cuba’s capital, Havana became flooded. Irma was weakened to a category 3 by the time she passed the Caribbean Islands. Unfortunately for Florida, Irma regained strength and was a category 4 as she made contact. Marco Island and The Keys endured up to 140 mph winds and 15 inches of rainfall which caused structural damage and flooding. Miami saw flooding too but avoided the center of the storm. Naples faced significant flooding as category 4 Irma weakened to a category 2. By the time Irma hit Tampa, she was a category 1. Georgia was left with tropical storm conditions. Hurricane Irma claimed a total of 129 lives and caused $50 billion in damage.

The Salvation Army took part in relief efforts for the Caribbean. Efforts started with The US Virgin Islands. The Salvation Army’s USA Eastern Territory teamed up with The Reformed Church to fulfill the needs of people in the St Thomas area. Together they fed 1,500 local residents. The Reformed Church was provided with food and supply boxes to distribute to other individuals in the community. St John and St Croix also received support, when The Salvation Army teamed up with UPS to deliver food, water, and other commodities. The Salvation Army then helped Puerto Rico recover, and plan for the incoming Hurricane Maria. The Salvation Army helped The British Virgin Islands as well. In Castres, the capital of St Lucia The Salvation Army sent a trained staff to aid the National Emergency Management Organization. Since the supply chains in The British Virgin Islands were disturbed by Irma, The Salvation Army also shipped 100 medical kits to Tortola. The Salvation Army’s Caribbean Territory contributed by assisting feeding efforts in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In St Maarten, The Salvation Army housed 35 individuals along with distributing water, food and hygiene kits. The Salvation Army’s location in Antigua took in evacuees, including people from heavily impacted areas like Barbuda. The Caribbean Territorial Headquarters of The Salvation Army met with other agencies to figure out how to best assist the other islands that were severely damaged.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

In Florida, The Salvation Army took another big role in the disaster relief efforts. 61 mobile feeding units were active in Florida along with trained volunteers from all over America and Canada. The Salvation Army also had 3 field kitchens, and other support vehicles like sleeping units, refrigerated trucks, and generators. This was the largest disaster response in the history of The Salvation Army’s Florida division. In Naples, a field kitchen went to work alongside 16 of the mobile feeding units. Almost 40,000 hot meals were served in the Naples area. Another field kitchen located in Fort Myers served 33,000 hot meals to that community. 1,300 meals were also transported to the areas that needed it most. Places like Miami and Sebring received food boxes, clean up supplies, and vouchers for clothes. In the Florida Keys, The Salvation Army met with local officials to serve the community needs. The Salvation Army made sure to provide long term support to individuals and families as they returned to their normal lives.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

7. Hurricane Maria | Late September 2017

Puerto Rico avoided the full impact of Hurricane Irma but the island was in for much worse with the next storm of the 2017 hurricane season. The ensuing Hurricane Maria pounded Puerto Rico and Dominica causing lasting effects on infrastructure, electrical power, and employment. Along with all the buildings that were destroyed, Maria damaged most of the roads leaving only 8% open to the public for an entire month. To exacerbate the problem the island’s power grid was cut off leaving everyone in Puerto Rico without electricity and cellular communication. Puerto Ricans had no lights, no air conditioning, and nowhere to refrigerate their food. With spoiled food, and water that was contaminated by sewage systems many people became sick. These poor living conditions combined with the lack of income in Puerto Rico forced many people to move to the mainland. Not only did the people of Puerto have to deal with these vast struggles, but they also grieved many deaths caused by this powerful storm. The total damage cost of Hurricane Maria was $95 billion.

The Salvation Army was active in Puerto Rico when Maria hit.

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 In Puerto Rico The Salvation Army delivered a total of 78,000 meals during the 2017 hurricane season. The Salvation Army also served hot meals and gave cleaning supplies to over 22,500 people.

In St Thomas The Salvation Army served 21,500 hot meals, while delivering water, food, and supply boxes to the most affected areas.

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

8. Hurricane Florence | August 2018

Hurricane Florence was only a category 1 when she hit the Carolinas and Virginia but the storm still had major impacts. Florence was a very slow-moving storm that rained down on communities for a long period of time. Flooding was the main problem for people in these communities. Rising waters along with strong winds ruined homes and invaded the streets killing 30 people. This relentless water was even more of an issue when it became polluted. Toxic chemicals from raw sewage, coal ashes, and pig manure filled the stormwater contaminating the drinking water in the process. These toxic chemicals along with floating plastic material were also released into the ocean. Florence killed a total of 52 people and caused $24 billion in damage.   

When Florence hit, The Salvation Army did what it normally does during disaster relief efforts. In the Carolinas and Virginia The Salvation Army had 52 active mobile feeding units. A total of 10,566 snacks, 23,194 drinks, and 25,699 meals were served to the victims of hurricane Florence. The Salvation Army also utilized their locations in North and South Carolina to provide shelter, food, and spiritual care.

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9. Hurricane Dorian | August 2019

Hurricane Dorian started her reign over the Caribbean by making landfall on the Virgin Islands. Dorian gradually gained strength moving through the Virgin Islands leaving many places without power, as 82 mph winds blew junk onto the streets. The storm continued to accumulate power making her way to the Bahamas. Aboca and the Grand Bahamas received the worst of the storm. Many of the people in these communities were Haitians who migrated to the Bahamas. A total of 70 people were found dead and over 200 people were recorded missing but there could have been more undocumented people that were never reported. The survivors were left with nothing, everything around them was destroyed. Dorian produced category 5 conditions when she hit the Bahamas. 185 mph winds, heavy rainfall, and large scale flooding devastated homes, businesses, schools, and infrastructure in various communities. Around 13,000 houses were destroyed and many places were submerged by water. The fishing industry in the Bahamas was also severely affected. At least 80% of the vessel fleet from Marsh Harbour to The Grand Bahamas was incapable of being used according to a local fisherman. The remains from the destroyed vessels and other debris made the waters hard to navigate, this created an additional problem for the fishing industry. Tourism, another major industry in The Bahamas, suffered as well as many ideal destinations received damage. After Dorian left the Bahamas she moved to the South Eastern Coast of the US giving many states tropical storm conditions. The coast of North Carolina received the most impact in the US as category 1 conditions caused flooding, damage, and the death of 3 people. Making her way up north, Dorian hit Canada as a category 2 hurricane leaving 500,000 people without power. Hurricane Dorian caused up to $3 billion in total damage.  

The Salvation Army presence in the Bahamas When Dorian Hit.

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Along the coast of the United States, The Salvation Army distributed food, drinks, and snacks. 50 Mobile Feeding Units throughout the east coast were ready to respond when Dorian hit.

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10. Earthquakes in Puerto Rico | Late December 2019 

Still recovering from the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico was hit with a string of Earthquakes from late December 2019 that lasted into 2020. Puerto Rico felt the most damage when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island along with many aftershocks, one with a 5.9 magnitude. During this span; homes, schools, infrastructure, and tourist attractions were left in ruins. This series of earthquakes forced people to be displaced from their homes and left countless without electricity. The strongest earthquake in 102 years knocked the power out for 3 million people and caused at least $110 million in damage. At least 1 person died from this series of earthquakes. Puerto Rico is still trying to recover from this natural disaster.

The Salvation Army already had many local camps set up before the earthquakes hit  because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. These local camps along with mobile feeding units gave out hot food, drinks, clothes, and hygiene kits. A trained team of 124 Salvation Army volunteers and officers worked with government officials to provide aid to the places that were most impacted. The Salvation Army also had five disaster operation locations that were open to the public in Puerto Rico. These locations gave individuals and families a place to stay while their emotional and physical needs were met.   

More Info on SA Disaster Relief

The Salvation Army is always there to give support when people need it most. There are a lot of great volunteers and employees that go out of their way to help when disasters happen. Writing this post made me realize how much The Salvation Army does for others during desperate times. They are uniquely positioned to provide assistance because of their many locations around the world and because of their ability to mobilize effectively. Thank you to everyone who supports The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Efforts.

Sincerely,

The Salvation Army Donations Guy