WHERE CAN YOU donate your used clothing and be sure it won't be resold for a profit?

Go with local charities with a long history in the area: Goodwill, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul, to name three of the largest.

St. Vincent de Paul's website lists 23 bins in the region. Goodwill maintains between 50 and 75 boxes in the area. The Salvation Army does not track the number of donation boxes it has throughout the country. Each organization also encourages drop-off of donations at its local and regional centers.

People who donate clothing to a nonprofit can take a charitable deduction for it. They cannot take deductions for giving to for-profit operations.

"What I would want the public to be aware of is that when they are making a donation of their material goods, they have an opportunity to make a difference in their community. And I think that should be one of the factors they consider when they donate," said Mark Boyd, chief executive of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.

Goodwill employs about 800 people in the region, many of them disabled.

"When they make a donation to an unmarked box, or to someone they have not heard of, or to Planet Aid, it's not going to stay local," Boyd said. "Planet Aid states basically [that] all their donations are going to Africa, and no one has been able to track what happens to that donation. Is it real? Are these front organizations? That's not me speaking. That's what the record says."

- Christopher Malo