For many, a used clothing bin is seen as simply a place to drop off charitable donations. But for others, they can be seen as a place to crawl inside.
It was enticing enough for a man in his mid-20s to attempt to dive in Thursday morning — a decision that cost him his life.
At 3:45 am someone noticed his body partially stuck inside the clothing bin located in the parking lot of North Hill Centre.
Vulnerable people who are homeless say they’ve heard of others getting desperate and crawling into bins for whatever they can get their hands on.
“They are like a death trap,” said Drop-In Centre client William Brenner.
“They are meant to put stuff in — clothing — not humans.
“Getting stuck in that situation, you are helpless and vulnerable.”
There are places in the city to find clothing other than going to that extreme — the Calgary Drop-In Centre has a free clothing store for those in need.
“It’s unsettling to think someone tried to get into a bin and died, that’s tragic,” said Patrick Newman, who manages the store.
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“If they knew we were here they probably could have avoided it.”
Two people died in B.C. last summer trying to get into clothing bins.
Non-profits across the country are trying to come up with ways to design the bins to keep their donations in and people out.
Joanne Dorn of the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta said thefts from bins are on the rise.
“A lot of people look for ways to make money and unfortunately they take it out of the charities’ hands,” Dorn said. “We’ve seen several ways they can sell clothing and there is a market for textiles.”
The bin where the body was discovered belongs to the Canadian Diabetes Association. Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of Diabetes Canada said in a statement the company is devastated by the news.
“Diabetes Canada is saddened to learn of the tragic incident involving a death of an individual in one of our clothing donation bins at North Hill Centre in Calgary,” the statement reads.
“My deepest condolences and those of our organization and staff go out to the individual’s family and friends. We are working diligently with the City of Calgary authorities.
“This is the first such incident that has occurred in the more than 20 years we have used clothing collection bins.”