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THE COLLECTION PROCESS  (2010)

COLLECTING IS A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM

 

Step 1:  COLLECTING

We collect from neighbors, friends, acquaintances, a church group and people who advertise they have things they want to give away. 

Many donors from previous years contact us from time to time when they have more to donate. 

With very few exceptions, the pick-up of the items is our first responsibility.

(Picture: April 27, 2008)

Step 2:  SORTING

At the "Collection "Center" a.k.a. our garage, all items are unpacked and sorted.

Donations are expected for quality.  Torn and permanently stained clothes as well as damaged appliances and articles deemed unsuitable for delivery to the reservation are removed.  Such items include clothes with imprints promoting alcohol, offensive logos, or books and videos of unsuitable content.

(Picture:  April 27, 2008)

Step 3:  FUNCTIONALITY AND SUITABILITY TESTS

Electrical appliances are checked for functionality.  Sadly, some donations do not pass this step.  Items that do not work properly, or appear to be unsafe, are rejected.  Complex items such as computers only undergo a basic check because time just doesn't permit in-depth tests.

Clothes are checked for cleanliness, stains, tears, smells (yes, unfortunately, no kidding) and imprints, patches, or logos.  Some items do not pass muster.

Step 4:  PACKAGING

Items are then packaged.  We prefer the boxes paper manufacturers use to distribute 5,000 sheets of 8.5 x 12 inch copier paper because they fit perfectly into certain areas of the transport vehicles, weigh little but are sturdy enough to be stacked.

Step 5:  VALUING

A market value is assigned to each item.  If the purchase price is not known, we provide an estimate considering age, condition and functionality of the item.

Step 6:  COMPUTER ENTRY

A brief item description, value and box number are recorded.

Step 7:  BOX SEALING AND WEIGHING

As soon as a box is filled, it is sealed and weighed.  Recording the weight is important.  Boxes will later be distributed in the transport vehicles in such a way that the weight is evenly distributed in the vehicles.

(Picture:  April 27, 2008)

Step 8:  LABELING

Labels help to quickly identify the contents of a box without the need to reopen it.  Labels carry symbols for quick identification.

(Picture from 2008 collection)

Step 9:  COMPUTER ENTRY

Computer records are amended with the weight of the box at that stage.

(Picture from 2008 collection)

Step 10:  STORAGE

Labeled boxes are stacked and stored on shelves and dollies.  Boxes with similar content are stored together to facilitate the distribution later.

Boxes must not be "overfilled" as overfilling leads to leaning towers of boxes, and must not be "underfilled" to avoid the crushing of boxes stored at or near the bottom of a stack.

Boxes remain in storage until they are loaded for the long journey to either South Dakota, or Ontario.  Many boxes are stored for many months.

(Picture shows part of 2008 collection)

Step 11:  LOADING

Loading the boxes is a time consuming effort.  Space is limited and I want to pack as tightly as I can to maximize the number of box lots.

(Picture:  2008 donations)

Step 12:  DISTRIBUTION

On the Pine Ridge reservation, boxes are unloaded at one, or more distribution points.  Word of my arrival spreads quickly, sometimes via KILI radio, and people in need find me.  Deliveries to some residences in the outer districts can only be made by 4-wheel drive vehicles, or by horses.  I do not personally make deliveries that "deep" into the reservation.  Items we are not able to distribute personally, are usually picked up by members of the CAP, a community service, and distributed to people in the outer districts.  My contacts on the rez coordinate the CAP pick-up.

(Picture was taken at a distribution point on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in July 2009.)

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