Too many donations, too little time

Taylor Rowland, Staff Writer

With the multiple twisters that hit the South came a lot of donations from across the country. These twisters devastated the country and killed more than 300 people. Relief officials are now left with the daunting task of sorting through piles and piles of donated items. Some are useable and others are not like broken toys and used underwear. “That becomes the disaster within the disaster,” said Salvation Army spokesman Mark Jones. “When people make those mass donations … it causes the community to be overrun with them and have to deal with that in addition to the storm damage.”

    In Alabama agencies still are encouraging people to donate items like cleaning supplies or cash donations because warehouse space is limited where they store the donations that need to be sorted through before handing out to victims. It is a very long process but is worth it to the people in need.

   A donation distribution center in the Alabama has plenty of baby food and water and doesn’t need any more clothing. But they could use some tents and camping gear because some victims are sleeping outside beside the rubble of their homes. The center put the word out they do not need any more clothing.

    “Temporary Emergency Services of Tuscaloosa County already has 10 warehouses full of donations, but too many of those items are broken toys, dirty stuffed animals and used underwear that has to be thrown in the trash,” said agency director Karen Thompson. While the warehouse space was also donated, Thompson said storing all that stuff is still costly because the organization must pay liability insurance to cover the operation in case someone is hurt on the job. “We just have so much,” she said. “It’s going to be needed long-term, but a lot of people don’t have a roof over their heads and don’t have anywhere to put things right now.”

      The centers in Alabama can’t say no to people so they take the generous donations and will probably re-send them out into the country to other disasters or to other people who need them.