If anyone has gently used items of clothing to donate, there are two legitimate organizations in town interested in taking them: Newark Neighbours, and The Farmworker Hub.
However, there have also been some big green bins around town advertising for textile donations, but it’s a mystery where donated items are going — there is nothing on the bin to indicate who is behind them.
Last week, Julia Buxton-Cox noticed one of the bins by the LCBO in Virgil, and called the number on the box twice, trying to find out more about where the donations were going, as did The Local. Messages left were not returned. The recording says textiles donations “are being diverted from landfill and supporting local jobs.”
“I’m interested to know who the company is, especially because Newark Neighbours and The Farmworker Hub are both working hard to collect clothing to stay in town,” says Buxton-Cox.
“The company says that this clothing is helping to create jobs in our town, but I highly question if that’s legit.”
Greg Chew, sales representative for Colliers International, developer of the plaza, said he has seen the collection bins in other locations.
He too has left many messages when dealing with bins in Fort Erie and Virgil, and hasn’t received a response, he says.
The company did not ask permission to place their bin on the LCBO site in Virgil, he adds. “I have the same questions and concerns that you and residents have raised regarding who they are and where the donations end up,” Chew said in an email to The Local.
“I don’t believe this bin design is safe, and I find it strange at best that there is no name on it.”
Chew says he supports clothes being recycled and reused, “however the behaviour of this company, whoever they are, I will not support. I had my maintenance team remove the bin earlier this week for all of those reasons.”
Buxton-Cox encourages people to drop off clothing donations at The Farmworker Hub, at 1570 Niagara Stone Rd., by the door at the side of Cornerstone Church. There is a donation bin for items that are distributed free to offshore farm workers.
She also suggests Newark Neighbours, which has a food barn and thrift store on John Street, off the driveway for Riverbend Inn. Newark has been looking after the needy in NOTL for 50 years, and donations of clothing, linens and small household items help local low-income families.
She warns against potential scams, especially, she says, “when two agencies in town are working so hard to provide for migrant workers and low-income families.”