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'
Posted at 3:29 PM, Jun 22, 2020

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.