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Families trying to make ends meet benefiting from surge in Goodwill donations amid pandemic

'Spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning this year'
Families trying to make ends meet benefiting from surge in Goodwill donations amid pandemic
Posted at 3:29 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 15:38:01-04

The pandemic has resulted in a major increase in donated items, so the selection at stores like Goodwill is better than ever before.

Families that are trying to make ends meet are benefiting a lot from this surge in donations.

"It’s not just a little bit. It’s carloads of donations," said Goodwill store manager Sarah Guthrie. "It’s just been crazy. Donation after donation. The first weekend I was here, we did over 1,000 donations between Saturday and Sunday. It's about a car for every 12 seconds."

Guthrie has been store manager at the Castle Rock, Colorado, Goodwill location for about a month and a half. She's seen the same thing just about every day since.

"Right now, our donation center starts at 10 a.m., but starting around 9:15 or so, we start getting cars in our line and a lot of times it’ll wrap all the way around the building and into the street," said Guthrie.

They see car after car of people dropping off bags of things they no longer need.

"Spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning this year," said Goodwill Industries International CEO Steve Preston.

He says this isn’t just unique to this one store. Donations are up across the country where stores are open, which means now is the time to go shopping for a bargain.

"That is the logical connection. So, when we get a lot of great donations coming in, it is a super time to hit the store because our category is called “Treasure Hunting”, category in retail, and there are just a ton of treasures in there because so many people have been bringing in those donations," said Preston.

Some stores are seeing an increase of up to 50% in donations, and they’re having a hard time storing it in their stores.

"Many of our local stores are renting additional warehouse space. They’re finding trucks to be able to hold those donations," said Preston.

Which is the case back at Guthrie’s store.

"We store what we can here in the store. We process what we can here in the store. But, a lot of what we get in through our donation line actually goes to our warehouses," said Guthrie.

More donations mean selling more goods, which turns into more job training for people who are now finding themselves unemployed.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.