I am a believer that ‘charity begins at home,’ first

Published 6:03 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

You might have noticed the bright blue clothes drop-off boxes appearing around Bainbridge and Decatur County over the last several weeks. American Family Foundation, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., has placed the boxes at various business locations to collect unwanted clothing and household items.

After seeing these boxes become more numerous — there are about eight to 10 locations around town — I decided to learn more about the American Family Foundation. I wanted to learn what happens to the clothes after they are dropped off, and who benefits from the donations or sale of the donations.

After a little research, the American Family Foundation operates 17 thrift stores. The majority of the stores are located throughout Alabama, and these stores sell the collected donations and use the proceeds to support various Christian-based organizations.

Email newsletter signup

After speaking to a company representative in the Birmingham headquarters, I learned that most of those proceeds, in addition to first choice of the donated clothing, goes to benefit the King’s Home in Chelsea, Ala. Chelsea is located just outside Birmingham.
Growing up in Alabama, I am familiar with King’s Home and they do wonderful work with at-risk children and women for over 30 years.

The boxes you see around Decatur County are serviced from an American Family Foundation office in Dothan, Ala. Dale Bolling, a representative from that office, told me that over 40 Christian-based organizations are benefactors from the sale of the donated clothing.
I am convinced that this organization supports worthwhile causes with your donations of clothing and household items.

However, none of those causes are local to us in Decatur County. None of the increasing need for donated clothing is filled from your donations to American Family Foundation.
To be clear, I am not suggesting to not drop off unwanted items into these blue boxes. But, if you want your donation to help and support local families in need, or local charities, then you have other options.

Other organizations, such as our local Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Harvest America — among many of the churches — take clothing donations that directly affect local families in need.

All of these organizations operate thrift stores where people can purchase very affordable clothing and housewares. The proceeds from the operation of these stores are used to help local families in need.

I am a firm believer in the age-old idea of “Charity begins at home.” If you are fortunate enough to have unwanted or unneeded clothing or household items, please consider the needs of our area first.

Jeff Findley is the publisher of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at jeff.findley@thepostsearchlight.com.