Knoxville group says donation bins are helping a good cause

Knoxville group says donation bins are helping a good cause

Posted:
The D.A.V. Thrift Store on Washington Pike is the first of its kind in the state to help veterans through the Disabled American Veterans Department of Tennessee. The D.A.V. Thrift Store on Washington Pike is the first of its kind in the state to help veterans through the Disabled American Veterans Department of Tennessee.
They collect 30,000 pounds of clothes each month in collection bins, but with a staff of only five, they say they need help. They collect 30,000 pounds of clothes each month in collection bins, but with a staff of only five, they say they need help.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Clothing donation bins have been popping up all over the city, leaving some to wonder where the donations are really going.

Previous story: City council looking for stricter regulation on donation bins

6 News spoke to some people worried that for-profit companies were using them to make money, but at least one local group says the donation bins are helping a good cause.

The D.A.V. Thrift Store on Washington Pike is the first of its kind in the state to help veterans through the Disabled American Veterans Department of Tennessee.

They collect 30,000 pounds of clothes each month in collection bins, but with a staff of only five, they say they need help.

"You need multiple trucks and insurance," said store manager Justin Marks. "You got to have plenty of employees, and we simply can't afford to run that."

Instead, Marks says they must rely on outside for-profit companies to help them collect the donations.

"We solicit them to put out the bins and collect the donations and bring them back to the store, so all the donations you see in the store, a majority of them, are from the collection bins," said Marks.

Some of the donations are given directly to disabled vets, while others are sold inside the store and used to provide other services to local vets.

"A big portion of what they do is provide transportation to and from the VA hospitals for the veterans," said Marks.

Marks says all the D.A.V. bins are clearly marked.

"Some of them will have our D.A.V. logo, which is the bright green logo. Others will state a portion of the proceeds will go to the Disabled American Veterans Department of Tennessee," said Marks.

Even though Marks says their bins are clearly marked, he would like to see more regulation over the bins so it’s clear where the donations are going.

"I believe there should be a permit in place, and the city should be a big part of that because, not only is it a donation, it's textile recycling," said Marks.

He only hopes that will come sooner rather than later so people don't become discouraged from donating.

The D.A.V. says in all, it has 190 bins set up across East Tennessee. As for regulating those and other bins, the city law department is now looking into the issue.

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