Needs vary this time of year at Western Pa’s charity thrift stores.
At the Goodwill store in the Hollywood Square Mall, just off Route 22 in Salem, things have been busy for the past few months.
“We have a lot more business here than we had in Murrysville,” assistant manager Jenny Desport said.
Part of that, she said, is due to the opening of a new store in a location with better access, but charity thrift stores such as Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul and the Salvation Army have experienced a sharp increase in foot traffic during the pandemic.
“Material donations are the lifeblood of Goodwill stores, and the success of our stores is largely due to the donations we receive,” said Michael J. Smith, president and CEO of Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Desport said the Salem Goodwill store receives a fairly wide variety of donations, but could use more clothing donations for teens and older adults.
“We get an overabundance of kid stuff,” Desport said.
At the St. Vincent DePaul store in Jeannette, President Marilyn Lander said that right now they have an abundance of everything but space after moving from Clay Avenue to the old Arlington Shoes & Repairing building in North First Street and Harrison Ave.
“We’re definitely a little busier here than we were at our other location,” Lander said. “But we also received a lot more donations. We are running out of space, rather than struggling for items to offer.
At the St. Vincent DePaul store in Monroeville, assistant manager Katie Hagood said that while their clothing inventory was in good condition, they could use other items.
“The donations that we typically run out of, especially at this time of year and with covid, are household goods,” Hagood said. “Pots and pans, kitchen utensils and furniture.
Smith said Goodwill officials hope residents will be able to do some early spring housekeeping, checking closets, attics, basements and garages for clothes, household items, books, jewelry , computers and electronic equipment.
“Donations are more important than ever due to the strong demand from the community who rely on our stores to have the products they need,” he said.
At the Goodwill on Pittsburgh Street in Cheswick, assistant manager Shane Bourne said that while the pandemic has brought more families through the door, it has also helped bring in additional donations to meet that demand.
“Our business is doing very well, and I think that’s part of why we’re making this effort to get people to donate,” he said. “We have sold a large part of our stock. I think we were lucky in part because people spent a lot of time at home and ended up cleaning up, which resulted in a lot of donations.
To find a charity thrift store near you, check out GoodwillSWPA.org, SVDPpitt.org, or EasternUSA.salvationarmy.org/western-pennsylvania.
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