When Good Intentions Aren’t Enough
Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Floods. Unfortunately, there’s been no lack of natural disasters of late, and The Salvation Army is responding in the US and all over the world. At the same time, we’re very thankful to say there’s no shortage of public support either.
If you scroll through the comments on our blog’s disaster posts or Facebook updates, we get message after message from people wanting to help. While we tell supporters that financial contributions are best, many ask about donating gifts-in-kind, meaning items other than money, such as clothes, furniture, toys, food, etc.
People have asked why we don’t always accept gift-in-kind donations for disasters. Shouldn’t we donate as much as possible to people in need? The aforementioned items are great, but they’re not always what’s needed the most by disaster survivors. Sometimes, they can actually be more harmful than helpful…even when they’re donated with the best intentions.
And that’s what many tornado relief workers are grappling with right now in the southern US, as reported by the Daily Mail: A 3 ft Santa Claus and used underwear: Bizarre donations swamp tornado disaster workers
So how do donors still give generously while making sure their donations go the furthest in serving those in need? Be informed. Reach out to a charity/relief agency to see what it is they need before you donate. And remember, financial donations are the most flexible and portable.
The Salvation Army’s Disaster website has an article on this subject that every donor should be aware of: Why Send Money When I Have All This Stuff I Could Send?
We hope this helps make sense of our donation policies during times of disaster. Thank you for your desire to support those in need!
P.S. Just because we don’t always accept clothes or in-kind donations for disaster relief, that doesn’t mean your items can’t be put to good use! Donate to our Salvation Army Family & Thrift Stores where they can benefit people in need from your local community.