Diabetes Canada warns of overflowing donation bins

ANTIGONISH: With some of their donation bins across Canada overflowing, Diabetes Canada issued an open letter to community leaders and elected officials to help raise awareness about the issue.

The association, which stopped the pick-up of all textile donations from homes and donation bins on March 23, suggests some of their bins are becoming garbage dumps – and they need help.

The decision came shortly after its retail partner, Value Village, closed its doors. Without a retail partner to sell the items and raise money for research and other initiatives, it only made sense to halt bin collection.

“The current donations at the donation bins and, in some unfortunate instances, the dumping of garbage at donation bins, is posing a serious health and safety issue,” Sean Shannon, president and CEO of National Diabetes Trust which is the clothing donation organization supporting Diabetes Canada.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and crucial physical distancing orders by governments resulted in the temporary lay-off of the more than 500 staff who manage their donation bin service.

“Diabetes Canada donation bins are overflowing, and some are becoming a dumping ground for well-meaning citizens who want to support our work,” Shannon said. “We need governments, at this point, to step in and be part of the solution of all of the massive dumping going around all of these bins.”

Diabetes Canada said sadly, some residents continue to drop off donations at their bins even though they cannot empty them at this time, and some individuals are using donation bins to dump garbage and more.

“This is posing a serious health and safety issue,” Shannon said. “We simply do not have the financial resources to deploy staff to clean the garbage around our more than 5,000 bins.”

The association said it has contacted government agencies to help remove the garbage, but efforts have been unsuccessful.

Diabetes Canada relies on generous charitable clothing donations as a crucial source of revenue that supports diabetes research, sends kids with Type-1 to camp and sustains their efforts to end the fight against diabetes.

Additionally, more than 100 million pounds of textiles are diverted from landfill annually. With an extended stoppage of service, Diabetes Canada has lost one its major sources of revenue which impacts millions of Canadians.