FREDERICK -- Yellow boxes dotting the Frederick landscape are collection points for clothing -- a Planet Aid project that helps families in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Planet Aid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in developing countries, has installed 16 boxes around Frederick.
Quality used clothes are collected in the boxes and sold. The proceeds are used to fund a number of projects and provide direct aid to families, according to Esther Neltrup, Planet Aid operations general manager for the Washington metropolitan region.
Planet Aid objectives include development, protecting the environment and relief aid.
Frederick's yellow bins were installed in January, but other cities in the metropolitan Washington region have had their boxes since 2000, Ms. Neltrup said. And the reception has been positive, she said.
A yellow box on Spectrum Drive was full on Tuesday.
Ms. Neltrup said Frederick residents have been generous.
"People obviously have things they don't need and are willing to put to good use," Ms. Neltrup said. "We depend on a host or the general public to let us know when a box is full."
Ms. Neltrup said the program is heavily dependent on support from the local business community, which has been responsive in Frederick.
Rick Rubeck, manager of Battery One, said Planet Aid workers requested permission to leave the box at the South Street store.
"They told us what the project was about and asked us if we wouldn't mind putting the box up. We have the space, so we told them as long as they maintained it, it was OK," said Mr. Rubeck.
"And from what I can see, they've been getting a lot of donations," he said.
Planet Aid activities in the U.S. fall into these categories: clothes collection and recycling, quality secondhand clothing stores, partnership in development and sharing information about development issues.
Ms. Neltrup said the focus on sending money as opposed to clothes is deliberate.
"If you give someone a shirt, it's a shirt. But give someone $5 and they can do a lot with it. It buys other needs," Ms. Neltrup said.
Ms. Neltrup said projects include food production and other small enterprises, improving children's health and nutrition and teachers in rural areas, schools for street kids, orphans and HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
Planet Aid fulfills its mission through collaboration with nongovernmental organizations in the countries it serves. The group prioritizes ongoing projects in communities, Ms. Neltrup said.
The organization has more than 4,000 collection boxes in other metropolitan areas. Planet Aid was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1997 and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.