SANDY — Chelsea Goss pulled a toddler's shirt from a trash container and held it up — pink and printed with red ballet slippers, it was shredded, apparently with scissors or a razor blade.
Goss, who happened upon the pile of waste while throwing out her trash, was outraged at what she saw and says employees from a nearby children's clothing store purposefully destroyed and threw away about a hundred items that she'd rather see going to the needy at this time of year and in such a tough economy.
"You can see, there's a little baby jacket that they took scissors to, and cut the whole back out so no one could wear it. And it's just sad," she said Wednesday.
It was just one of dozens of pieces of children's clothing in the trash, obviously originating at Carter's, a business neighboring her own place of work.
"I wasn't very fortunate growing up and I can't imagine throwing clothes away," Goss said. "Kids are innocent victims of this bad economic situation."
Organizations like Salt Lake City's Road Home shelter, which helps homeless and needy populations all year long, are currently reporting a higher-than-usual demand for donated clothing.
"We'll take anything," said Cassie Eggert, a spokeswoman for the shelter. "We'll take any old clothing. We'll clean it. We'll wash it. We'll find a good home for it."
Carter's district manager Diane Kovack said the company donates millions of dollars to children's causes every year, including clothing. Donations have even been made to local organizations such as the women's shelter and the Odyssey House.
"The company is very community-oriented and we consider ourselves a leader in charitable giving," she said, adding that the items in the trash container were deemed by the staff at Carter's to be "suitable to be destroyed."
Some of the items that ended up being shredded, she said, had bodily fluids on them or were otherwise deemed not usable. Such items were noted as returns but others were clearly new and still had tags on them. Kovak said there were about 15 items among the junk that were salvageable, but the staff had a hard time finding a place that would pick up the small donation.