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Sounding Board: Bin There, Donate That

By Tanya Cheung

To most, the donation bins around the city are seen as an end to one’s spring cleaning, but to the Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA), these bins are life lines.

For more than a decade, donation bins have greatly benefitted 1,600 people with developmental disabilities each year by allowing them access to programs and services that are not funded by the government. As the number of persons requiring services grows at a rate of six per cent per year, every item contributes to the welfare of people with developmental disabilities.

So where do these donations go?

Items collected from DDA donation bins are sold to its strategic partner, Value Village. All profits from these bins are spent or held for the benefit of DDA’s clients.

As the first charity in Canada to run this enterprise, DDA focuses its efforts to be socially and environmentally friendly by saving seven million pounds of recyclables going into landfills; a team effort that was recognized by the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s MOBI award.

It is unfortunate however, that DDA bins are now being overrun by donation bins run by for-profit companies in the guise as registered, not-for-profit charities.

To camouflage their for-profit intentions, companies pay a small percentage of profits to charities to use their name as opposed to DDA, where 100 per cent of profits are redirected back to programs and services to people with developmental disabilities.

Funding for DDA’s programs and services is negatively impacted by these other donation bins.

There are currently no rules or regulations established for donation bin placement and advertising. Donors left with their own due diligence to ensure their donations are benefiting the intended recipients.

Tanya Cheung is communications and marketing manager for the Developmental Disabilities Association. For more information visit www.develop.bc.ca.