Matthew Hager thought he had bed bugs.
"It embarrassed me. I was like, 'Man, I try to keep my house clean,'" he said.
To fix the problem, he pulled all of his clothes out of his closet and drawers, packed them in seven trash bags and put them on the front porch for two days, thinking the heat would kill any bugs inside.
When he went to grab the bags, they were gone, he said.
"I just thought either my girlfriend or my mama come picked them up to wash them," he said.
The only thing left on the porch was a receipt from the National Kidney Services thanking him for his donation.
"It was comical whenever all my clothes were gone. I thought one of my friends got me good," he said. "But it wasn't a joke. They were really gone."
Value Village thrift stores pick up donations for the National Kidney Services. A Value Village executive said that drivers aren't supposed to grab bags that aren't clearly labeled for the charity but that it does happen. He said if a donor wants items back, Value Village tries to help, but donations go so quickly, it may not be possible.
If the items are contaminated, with bed bugs for example, he said Value Village throws them away.
WSOC contacted a handful of well-known charities in the Charlotte area to ask about their mistaken donation policies.
They all gave similar responses: Once you donate, they can try to return mistaken items, but they can't guarantee it.
If that happens:
-Contact the charity right away
-The smaller the item, the harder it will be to find
-The larger or more unique, the easier
-Remember, donations go quickly, so employees may not be able to locate the item
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.