Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Donated Clothing, Midnight, the Parking Lot of Grace Church, Slidell, La.
After the storm hit many people were left with just the clothes on their backs, and what they could carry. You try living in the same clothes for a week, in a shelter, in 100 degree heat, 95% humidity, no air conditioning, and no running water. About a week later the first clothing donations started rolling in. And they kept rolling. Truckloads. Hallelujah.
There are, however, some strange things I noticed about the clothing donations. Of course all these observations are wrapped in the knowledge that donations are donations, and all clothing was appreciated. But I couldn't help wondering, as I watched the desperate people pick through the clothes, in some cases, what were the people who donated them thinking?
I saw boxes of corporate logo t-shirts, maybe originally intended for company picnics, I guess. It stuck me as odd, imagining all these smelly, desperate, sweaty homeless victims now wandering around, advertising for some office product wholesaler in Akron. "This disaster relief brought to you by OfficeCo!" I survived Katrina and all I got was this lousy XXL shirt, indeed.
I saw old lingerie. Single shoes. Torn clothing. Pit stains. Old sweat pants with skid marks. I thought, did these people just donate clothes they were going to throw out anyway? Beneficent recycling? Trash for the poor?
Victims were so desperate for underwear. And socks. And towels. There was none of that.
No one complained about anything. It was just me, cynical, crusty me. They were overjoyed by any help arriving, after being left alone at first. Beggars, after all, really can't be choosers, can they?
Posted by clayton cubitt at 3:56 PM