Clothing donation bins have been springing up all over Bensonhurst, and their presence has not produced the positive source of charity as intended. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that the bins have been illegally placed on public property and have been subject to vandalism and theft.
While carrying the air of an official city project, the bins are actually run by multiple nonprofit organizations. The first problem with the bins, which are intended to gather clothing for the needy, is their placement. Despite city regulations that prohibit the placement of bins on public property, the bins have appeared all over Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, often times in a haphazard fashion. Department of Sanitation regulations are clear on the issue:
“The placement of collection bins by any person, other than a government or governmental agency, or its contractors or licensees on any city property, property maintained by the city, or on any public sidewalk or roadway is prohibited,” the Department of Sanitation regulations read. “Collection bins include, but are not limited to, clothing bins. Failure to comply with this prohibition may result in the removal of any collection bin improperly placed on public property,” according to the regulations.
Another problem with the bins is that it isn’t clear who is responsible for them or where the clothes are going. Community Board District 10 District Manger Josephine Beckman spoke to this issue.
“One of the complaints is that it’s difficult to tell what organizations are responsible for them. People in our community are aware of the many not-for-profit organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Salvation Army, and St. Mary’s Church, which collect clothing for the poor. People prefer to donate to an organization they know,” Beckman told Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The bins are also subject to poor management and vandalism. Often times the bins are so overstuffed with clothing that they end up being tagged with graffiti. Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia noted complaints that the bins were magnets for theft and garbage.
“[P]eople are dumping garbage near the bins. And people have been seen pulling clothes out of them,” Pavia said.
The bins have been the subject of similar problems across Southern Brooklyn including Brighton Beach. Sheepshead Bites reported on bins located in the confines of Community Board 13 that were disposed of by the Department of Sanitation after numerous complaints that the clothes inside of them were just being resold for profit at thrift shops.