KS disaster expert: 75% donated goods will go to waste

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Kansas disaster response coordinator is warning people to not donate goods to charities for potential Hurricane Harvey victims.

Hollie Tapley spent Friday inside her Wichita office tracking Hurricane Harvey’s every move.

“Part of our work is watching out for colleagues . . . watching what is going on with the weather, so that we know and we can kind of be ahead of the game if we need to prepare,” said Tapley who is the disaster response coordinator for Great Plains United Methodist.

“We are preparing whatever needs to be done to help, but unfortunately right now is the waiting game,” she said.

Tapley has colleagues positioned in safe zones near Corpus Christi, Houston and Baton Rouge.

“They are preparing for the worst and praying for the best, literally. They are gathering together cleaning supplies, their volunteers are all ready. ” Tapley said.

While Tapley’s colleagues prepare closer to the hurricane, Tapley is in Kansas focusing on what she and her volunteers can do for potential victims.

“This is that waiting period, that time where you don’t know, so you are trying to think of every situation you can and what is, what might and what do we do,” she said.

One thing Tapley said she doesn’t want people to do is to donate supplies or goods to various charities who may be helping potential hurricane victims.

“It just causes more damage than good,” Tapley said.

Tapley said ultimately people’s good deed of giving to those in need goes wasted during times of disaster.

“Seventy-five percent of donated goods during a disaster end up in landfills because people, they just drop it,” she said.

Tapley pointed to two main reasons why the goods go to waste: there’s nowhere for the goods to go and there’s no one to take care of the items.

“We mean well, but we want to do so and we grab things thinking oh, they need this oh, they need that, when they don’t,” she said.

She said the best way to give in a time of need is through a financial donation that way the money goes toward needed supplies.

“Money is the best way because we know culturally what people need. One group needs something totally different than another group,” Tapley said.

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