Howard County's Bounty Heads Overseas With Help From Bill
Bill Steelman drives around Maryland picking up donated clothes to be shipped overseas.
Sometimes you ask for clothes, but instead you get a stove.
I didn't have a camera on me -- bad reporter, I know -- so missed the opportunity to capture the work he does.
But he told me that he has found all kinds of things in (or next to) the bins -- including an entire stove.
I was fortunate enough to run into him again today -- with camera -- when he found a wooden a picture frame.
Even though the bin says “please leave clothes in bags,” he said, people often leave strange objects. And they aren’t always in bags.
The clothes have to be compacted for shipping. Certain things -- including a stuffed monkey toy that it was really hard for me not to snatch -- just can't be accepted.
As he crouched inside the bin to gather loose clothes he said “This is why we ask people to put things in bags.”
He’s a tall guy. It looked uncomfortable.
But Steelman was upbeat about his job and the service it provides. Donated clothes are sent around the world – mostly to South America, Asia and Africa he said. They are sold at low-cost, maybe 40 – 50 cents a pound, to cover the company's overhead.
Old Mill was Steelman’s second stop of the day. He said he had about 40 stops to make before he filled his truck capacity: 6,000 pounds.
Steelman is a contractor, but Planet Aid does hire a few of its own truck drivers as well. There are nine on the road, picking up used clothes to ship overseas. But there's always a bounty in Howard County.
“This area is one of the wealthiest in the country," he said. "And everyone is really good at giving.”
Find a donation bin near you and watch a video on the life of your donated clothes here.