Leaders of local nonprofits say they are seeing more homeless families this year because of the pandemic, and while people are donating to those families, there's an issue.
Too many donations brought directly to camp sites may go to waste, and cause trash to pile up.
Non-profit organizations that help the homeless say there's an easy fix to this.
Leaders of organizations say if you want to donate to the homeless, avoid dropping off directly at a camp site. Instead, go online and look up a nonprofit that you can donate money or food items to.
"It created a huge mess in the camps," said Joy McKee with Huntsville Operation Green Team.
McKee walks into homeless camps every week to help clean up wasted donations.
"When loads of raw chicken are dropped off, you can imagine, they don't have a way to keep that, so within a few hours, that raw chicken becomes a hazard," said McKee.
"Unsanitary conditions in the camps, as well as pests and rodents," said Missy Hanks with Expect Little Miracles.
Hanks says it's not only a health issue.
"A tax payer responsibility to clean up the camps," said Hanks.
"Over time, it's thousands of dollars," said McKee.
Now, city leaders and Expect Little Miracles are asking people to donate money, instead, through the Cash Beats Trash Campaign.
"So that agencies can fund their projects, programs and case management," said Hanks.
If someone does want to donate items, the best way is to contact a nonprofit.
"We want the camps to be as clean as possible," said McKee.
With more homeless families this year because of the pandemic, Hanks has one message.
"This year is more important than ever to be intentional and focused with your giving to help people and have the greatest impact," said Hanks.
Operation Green Team is looking for more volunteers to help clean up local homeless camp sites. If you're interested, click here.