It’s doubtful that Planet Aid’s KC manager, Bryan Thompson, knows much about the controversies involving his employer. In response to your recent article, Mr. Thompson simply played the good employee and attempted to paint Planet Aid in a positive light. I respect him for that, but I have no respect for Planet Aid. None.
Mr. Thompson obviously cares about his community, and of people in need, but his examples were more a reflection of his own moral character, not of Planet Aid’s. The bread he mentioned was not purchased by Planet Aid, it was going to be discarded had it not been for Mr. Thompson’s quick thinking. And even though many children in the Kansas City area are in need of winter coats and backpacks, those are items not typically needed by Planet Aid’s customers. Most of their clothing is sold in Africa and Central America, tropical zones.
Planet Aid will frequently partner with other groups, but this benefits Planet Aid more than the partner. They will put a box on school property, call it fundraising, and give the school a paltry one or two pennies a pound. Just recently Planet Aid partnered with Care Of Poor People, a local Kansas City charity that has a homeless outreach program. For one week, in 4 boxes, all the clothes donated go to COPP … but Planet Aid gets the clothes for the rest of the year. In my opinion, this is using the schools and COPP, not helping them.
It’s no wonder how Planet Aid has managed to expand into so many communities; they have a well tuned sales pitch. Just donate your used clothes and shoes! Help kids in Africa! Build schools! Pay for development projects! But it doesn’t take too much research to discover that very little funding actually makes it to those charity projects. And this is not just my opinion, but the conclusion of the Danish government and our FBI. Most of the funds, sadly, get diverted into private use, such as the luxury properties in Miami once used by Tvind’s top leaders, or their new $10 million complex in Mexico.
Besides claiming their actions as helping poor people overseas, Planet Aid also has a green environmental plea. How many of you believed Mr. Thompson when he commented that it was “statistically proven” that only 15 percent of textiles go to charities and that 85 percent end up in landfills? Really? Are 85 percent of clothes simply tossed into landfills? Of course not. Planet Aid twisted the data for its own gain. The truth is, the EPA classifies the collecting of used clothing as reuse of nondurable goods, which has nothing to do with the textile recycling data. According to the EPA, they don’t even quantify clothing-reuse numbers … and I got that fact straight from an EPA representative.
I’ve researched Planet Aid, and all of Tvind, for over four years. There is no doubt that when a Tvind group moves in, donations to local charities go down. And when this happens the most common question I get asked is “How do I get rid of them?” Good question, and good luck, because there is no easy solution and no standard procedure to follow. Even I, with all my knowledge and my big mouth, haven’t been able to rid my town of Planet Aid. Still, I’d like to give you a bit of advice if you want to see less yellow in your community … stop donating. It sounds too simple, but the truth is Planet Aid will not keep boxes in areas that don’t pay out. Tell your friends, tell your families, and ask the business owners to get rid of the boxes. Hopefully, there will be no reason for Planet Aid to stay.
Thank you for allowing me to speak, and special thanks to Jerry McCarter for alerting his community.
– Kris Alonge, Kansas