Too many clothes not enough people
People in the Roaring Fork are either overly generous or too wasteful.Piles of clothing sit in consignment store basements and thrift store warehouses waiting for new owners.The problem is, there are too many clothes and not enough people.”We’re living in the land of abundance and nobody wants our stuff,” said Rachael Windh, owner of For You Consignment, a store in Glenwood that, among other things, buys and sells used clothing.Every day, Windh fills 10 garbage bags full of clothing that she’s tried to sell but needs to give away.The basement of her shop is filled with about 250 bags of clothing.”I used to take it to the Salvation Army in Grand Junction but they don’t want it,” Windh said. “A church in Delta used to pick it up but they don’t have enough room.”The Salvation Army in Glenwood Springs doesn’t take clothing. Twice, Windh spent $250 to rent a 17-foot truck that she loaded with bags of clothing and drove to the Salvation Army in Grand Junction.Windh wants to get the clothes to people who need them, but she can’t afford to pay $250 every couple of weeks for a truck. Many places no longer accept her clothes.”Sometimes we’re too full to take anything from consignment stores,” said Burl Jensen, warehouse coordinator for the Salvation Army in Grand Junction. “The biggest thing right now is space and we don’t have a lot of space.”Windh opts to go to Grand Junction because the only thrift store in Glenwood – Defiance Thrift store – is giving away bags of clothes to get rid of surplus.Defiance recently had a sale where customers could pay $1-$2 for a bag full of clothing.”We’re pulling good merchandise off the racks,” said Coleen Graves, manager of Defiance Thrift. “No one is willing to take them and process them.”In the past, volunteers and nonprofit organizations took Defiance’s surplus to countries such as Mexico, Africa and South America.Graves suspects that many groups have stopped taking the clothes because taking clothing across the world is expensive and cumbersome.Every week, Graves stuffs 30-40 more bags of merchandise in the warehouse. At one point, walking through the warehouse was impossible. “We’ve trashed some of it,” Graves said. “It’s really heartbreaking.”Throwing away clothes is the last thing Graves and Windh want to do. They’re looking for someone to take the clothes to places where they’ll be used, such as Indian Reservations.Every time the two women see a Wal-Mart truck pass, they can’t help but wonder if the truck is empty.Obviously trucks are empty after delivery.An empty truck traveling across the country could take the clothes where they’re needed, Windh said.”People really just need to buy less and learn how to recycle,” Graves said.Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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