Two nonprofits will team up during disasters

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 14, 2014 3:00 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Two of the most recognizable nonprofits in the midstate are teaming up, and the partnership is meant to make disaster response more efficient.

American Red Cross logo

The Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania and Goodwill for the Keystone Area will share some duties during times of major disasters like floods.

Goodwill will take clothing donations, sort, price and stock them in stores.

Then, the Red Cross will get gift cards to distribute to families in need.

"During some disasters folks have called the Red Cross and said 'We want to donate used clothing.' But we cannot accept it. We don't have the place to store it, we don't have the personnel to sort. Yet we know our disaster clients need some of the things that are donated," says Kathy Smyser, spokeswoman for the Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania.

Smyser says the Red Cross will get the full value of the donated clothes back on the gift cards.

"It allows Goodwill to focus on their mission and the Red Cross to focus on our mission. It allows the community to donate what they'd like to donate. And the folks who need these items receive them," says Smyser.

She adds the organization will follow up with families to make sure they're able to use the gift cards at Goodwill stores.

In the past, the Red Cross has received piles and piles of donations, forcing inexperienced volunteers to comb through everything instead of providing immediate assistance.

The groups will also come together twice a year for a clothing drive.

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