"It's really been a lot of stuff really affecting the disaster site," James McGowan, the associate director of partnerships at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, told the AP. "They're just showing up and they're not coordinated with the agencies."
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed last week, José Holguín-Veras, an engineering professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Disaster Research Roundtable, echoed those sentiments.
"Unsolicited donations are seldom useful and often burdensome. The best estimates available suggest that about 60 percent of the supplies that arrive at a disaster site are not beneficial to the survivors and should not have been sent," he wrote.
Moreover, he said, unloading or disposing of the unwanted stuff can waste relief workers' time. Instead, he suggests selling your unwanted stuff in a yard sale, and then giving the relief workers the money you earned.