Donation bins play a vital role in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State (BBBSOS) carrying out its mission, and the nonprofit organization is reaching out to businesses that may be interested in hosting a bin.
“Our bins are very important to us,” said George Evans Marley, marketing and community outreach specialist for BBBSOS. “A lot of research and a lot of time and energy go into it.”
The donation bins, along with six donation centers and scheduled home pickups, allow BBBSOS to collect gently used clothing and other items that are sold to support the organization’s mentoring program and operations.
Marley said the organization currently has 150 bins spread between approximately 50 locations throughout Rhode Island. Some sites have multiple bins based on the volume of donations, he said.
The funding generated through donations is vital to the nonprofit’s success, said Marley.
“The national average cost per child in our program is $1,800 annually,” he said. “This covers rigorous annual background checks for mentors to ensure the safety of the children in our programs, monthly activities for our ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ and support for both the mentor and family of the child to ensure the success of the match.”
There are typically few problems with the donation bins, although Marley said there was a recent issue with a pair of bins at 945 Bald Hill Road in Warwick. The bins were removed by a commercial property maintenance service at the request of the property management company, he said, and BBBSOS was charged $675 to get them back.
“That money could be used for our mentoring program,” he said.
Marley said the removal of the bins created a “hiccup in our operation,” requiring time and attention from staff members and the use of a vehicle to pick up the bins. He also said a forklift was used to remove the bins, resulting in dents and scratches that will need to be fixed.
Attempts to contact the property manager, New Jersey-based Garden Commercial Properties, were unsuccessful. The property management service that removed the bins, Star Sweeping LLC of Cranston, referred any inquiries to Garden Commercial.
Marley said the bins are kept clean and are maintained daily, and are placed in convenient locations with high visibility. He said the organization takes whatever steps are needed to receive approval and partner with businesses and owners of host sites, and noted that the agreement for the Bald Hill Road bins was one that predated the current administration at BBBSOS.
The organization also teams up with other nonprofits and shares proceeds generated by bins at their locations.
“It’s a win-win,” said Marley.