Ottawa charity sends warning about donation boxes
Published Tuesday, September 25, 2012 6:36PM EDT
An Ottawa charity is warning people to be careful before dropping off their donations at bins around the region.
The charity Ottawa Neighbourhood Services says for-profit boxes are cutting into donations, without people knowing it.
Ottawa Neighbourhood Services volunteer Lucien Albert says with so many competing boxes, donations to their charity are significantly down.
Some drop boxes have been painted and look very similar to Neighbourhood Services ones, but they are not affiliated with the charity.
“It’s a scam and it’s been going on for a long time,” said Patricia Lemieux , the head of Neighbourhood Services.
“The bottom line is nobody knows who these people are, what organization they’re working for,” she said.
Charities like Ottawa Neighbourhood Services rely on the donors to stock their shelves for clients in need.
But Lemieux says their donations have been cut by 65 percent since the other bins began appearing.
The website ‘ottawaclothingdonations.com’ is written on donation bins that have popped up in the area.
The website doesn’t appear to work.
Another website, www.communityclothingdonations.com appears on one of the bins. The website says the company is helping to reduce the amount of used clothing going into landfills. It says its sending clothes overseas to help people in other countries.
A phone number is also posted on the bins, but it goes straight to an answering machine.
A man named Brennan Cartier returned CTV Ottawa’s voicemail messages.
He refused an interview saying “there have been too many negative stories about the used clothing industry.”
Cartier would not say which charities his company helps.
Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley says when he started doing some research on the bins, he discovered they weren’t linked to any charities.
He brought in a bylaw preventing them from being on city property.
He is now working no a bylaw that would prevent the boxes on private property.
“What I’d like to do is have some sort of bylaw or requirement that people in this business must disclose it’s a for-profit and not for donation business,” Hubley said.
It’s difficult to tell the difference between donation boxes that are linked to a recognized charity and those that aren’t.
Neighbourhood Services suggests people call the phone number on the drop box before leaving their donations.
With files from CTV’s Joanne Schnurr.