The Right Way To Give: Charities Ask For Your Help To Prevent Theft

Stealing from those who need it most - some east Texas charities say they have a serious problem. As KLTV 7's Layron Livingston found out today, the problems don't end there, but with the public's help, the solution could be rather simple.

We don't mind helping people. We're in the business of helping."

But Debbie Kirkland-Waffer with the Salvation Army of Tyler says that there's a right way and a wrong way to provide that help.

"We appreciate the donations, but people should think about it before they leave their dumped items. It can be anywhere from a 15 year old appliance, to a soiled mattress, and we can't use mattresses because of health reasons...or a big screen television that is not workable."

Waffer says those items end up costing the Army money in disposal fees.

There's another issue - people making donations after hours.

"Say for instance, someone leaves a bag of clothing, someone else will come and rummage through it and then it's scattered all around," Waffer told us today.

It's a concern other charities share.

"Their intention, which is to have the goods help somebody else, may not be accomplished."

David Walton is executive director of Goodwill Industries in Tyler. He says those after-hour donations present an unfortunate opportunity.

"Many people who have their own garage sales, or flea markets, come by, and actually sort through our goods and steal some things," said Walton.

Those are things he'd rather be sold in the Goodwill store. The money brought in there is used to help as many people in need as possible.

So keep donating your new and gently used items. Just, "...drop them off when somebody's here," says Walton.

There are drop off sites all over the city of Tyler.

Those we talked to today say just look for signs posted at those sites to know exactly when drop off your donations.

Layron Livingston, reporting.