The Norwalk Clothing Bank's mission statement is to help provide basic needs. But if people donate items in the wrong way, those people's generosity will turn into unusable trash.
Jean Row, manager of the Clothing Bank, said there are procedures for dropping off items for donations. Items should be dropped off when they are open. If they are closed, there is a drop box.
If items don't fit in the drop box and are left there, it is considered littering. People have been fined for dropping off items at the Clothing Bank outside of the drop box.
"Giving is good, but there's a procedure," Row said. "You hate to see someone with good intentions get a $100 ticket for littering."
The Clothing Bank is a non-profit organization primarily run by funds from the United Fund and private donations.
Row said that a big portion of the clothing bank's operating budget is spent on removing unusable items and trash.
"People drop off wooden furniture, it rains and the furniture is ruined," Row said. "It goes from useable to trash."
Row said the Clothing Bank is especially busy now, and the time taken on dealing with items not properly donated takes away from time that should be spent on people.
"If we have to take the time to deal with junk, we have to close and deal with cleaning up," Row said. "We are volunteers, and we do the best we can."
The Clothing Bank takes basic needs including clothing, household items such as bedding, shoes and kids' toys. Usable furniture also is accepted as long as it is dropped off when the store is open, so workers can relocate the furniture to a place where it will be protected from the elements.
Questions about what can be donated can be answered by calling the Clothing Bank at (419) 668-6977. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. If it is closed, people can leave a message, and someone will get back to them.
"People think they are doing a good thing by donating," Row said. "But if it's not in the right way, it becomes trash and that's not helpful."