Donations for the Homeless are Being Discouraged by Modesto City Officials

MODESTO -- Overflowing dumpsters at a Modesto park has prompted the city manager to say:

‘Stop dropping off your donations.’

As FOX40 has previously reported, Beard Brook Park has been transformed into a designated camp site. Now, more than 400 people stay there.

Modesto city officials say a dumpster is full of some of the best intentions.

“People trying to bring in clothes, we can’t take clothes no more because we’ve been finding some clothes in the outhouses,” said James Pack who is currently living in the park.

After Beard Brook Park was designated as a place where the homeless can sleep back in September, community members have donated hot meals, warm jackets and forms of shelter.

“The necessities, the tents, the tarps, the awnings,” said volunteer Anita Garcia.

However, volunteers and city officials say some of the handouts have to be tossed out.

“Pallets upon pallets of large cans of collard greens and the expiration date had passed,” Modesto’s City Spokesman, Thomas Reeves said.

Beyond organizations helping out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. most days, Modesto has now taken an official stance to discourage donation drop offs.

"But the city is not necessarily best suited to receive and sort those donations," said Reeves.

Garcia feels that with the incoming storms, more can be done.

"We need business people to get involved and to get on the calendar and come in and help serve these people," said Garcia.

One volunteer said off-camera that what the makeshift neighborhood needs, is not a handout but a ‘hand-up.’

“Number one priority is to make sure that we are connecting our homeless with the services that they need to hopefully break that cycle of homelessness,” said Reeves.

The city has supplied the homeless with sand bags to help with the incoming storms.

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