I received an email last week informing us that there will be a collection of items for victims of Hurricane Sandy. It asked for things such as paper goods, flashlights, new or in excellent condition clothing, outerwear etc.
This morning our whole family got involved in going through our clothes and pulling out items in excellent condition that we thought the people who had lost everything could surely use. We put in winter coats (Shabbos and everday), beautiful Shabbos robes - barely used, scarves and gloves for kids - also in great condition. And yes, we also had some things with tags that had never been used at all.
My husband and I arrived at the shul where the collection is taking place. We had a carload of things. The first question we were asked? "Are these brand new?". We told them we had new and slightly used but in excellent condition. We were told "Oh they are only accepting NEW items with tags in NY. They turned other things away already." All the other stuff was to be put in a separate pile to go to the local chesed fund. What a let down! Yes, we are happy to donate to our local chesed fund - no question about that. But that we do anyway. Here we really wanted to help our fellow Jews in NY. I'm from NY. It just felt like a slap in the face!