Background here and here. After showing the "used yoga mats for Haiti" sign for intrinsic comedy value and as a vignette of la vie San Franciscienne*, I quoted the person behind the campaign as to its benign intent. For the record, here is an opposite perspective, from reader Sharon Shewmake of UC Davis:
"I thought it was a particularity stupid way to donate, especially after everyone pointed out that shoes-for-Haiti is wasteful and stupid....
"I think that one of the reason people like to give things instead of money to charity is because they feel a connection, and the more specific the item the more of a connection. It's nice to think that someone in Haiti will enjoy my old yoga mat, but if it's not what they need then it's an irresponsible gift. Keep your old yoga mat (why do people have old yoga mats anyway?) and donate the $50 you would have spent on a new one to the Red Cross. I think the sign about donating the yoga mats is really arrogant. I appreciate they are trying to help, but it's a stupid and arrogant way to do so."
The sides having been heard, I declare the debate closed, or moved to other venues (like this yoga-related site). For the record, my wife and I have given cash donations but not goods after this disaster and others of its type (the Sichuan earthquake, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Katrina, etc). To all I say, Namaste, and on to other subjects.____
*I am inventing this translation. If it's wrong, excusez-moi!