I want to convey my concerns over the proliferation of for-profit collection bins that have popped up throughout the Lowcountry. I applaud The Post and Courier for bringing this to light as I am sure that many people see the boxes and assume the clothing they are placing in the bins are a donation to a local charity which provides local services.

Quite the contrary, every time you put your clothing into the for-profit collection bins, you are not making a “donation,” you are making a “deposit.”

This is important because there is a critical distinction between the two actions. “Donating” to a local charity supports the mission of that charity which returns the proceeds back into the community in the form of vital community resources.

I am familiar with the mission of Goodwill. Goodwill returns more than 90 percent of the proceeds of donated goods back into the community in the form of employment and training opportunities for people who are disabled, homeless or financially struggling, as well as veterans in crisis.

Between the work of Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Helping Hands organizations, I can only begin to fathom the tens of thousands of Lowcountry residents these services touch. Without a doubt, these services are critical to the health and well-being of our communities, and given the state of the economy, the needs have been increasingly growing in demand.

Conversely, “depositing” your goods into for-profit collection bins does not benefit the local community. As soon as you make the deposit into for-profit collection bins, these resources leave the area and their impact is lost.

When you make a deposit, these resources do not generate revenues to serve our communities such as helping people find employment, obtain valuable education and training for employment, clothe the needy or find their way to victims of fires and other disasters.

For-profit recyclers claim they are saving the environment.

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are organizations that go back over 100 years and are the original recyclers of clothing and goods, but also have a positive social component.

Our local charities not only recycle clothing and other goods, they recycle hope, dreams and transform lives, and that is the true power of your donation.

So the choice is clear, you can make a donation or a deposit. On behalf of the more than 37,000 people who received services from Goodwill in 2012 and the thousands of people the Salvation Army and other local charities serve, I hope you choose to make a donation. Donate and support your local charities.

Patrick Bryant

Immediate Past Board Chair

Goodwill Industries of Lower S.C.

Johnnie Dodds Boulevard

Mount Pleasant