The rush to donate unwanted items to local charities is on
Typical for the final days of the year, local charities reported brisk traffic Saturday at more than a dozen drop-off sites across the Lowcountry.
Want to donate?
Local charities with locations for drop-offs include:
Goodwill Industries — palmettogoodwill.net
Salvation Army Family Stores — www.salvationarmycarolinas.org
Habitat for Humanity ReStore — www.charlestonhabitat.org/restore.html
Animal Helpers ReTail ReSale Store (for Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers) — animalhelpersretail.com
“It is booming over here,” said Tante Brown, manager of the Goodwill store off Glenn McConnell Parkway in West Ashley, at midday. “When we opened at 9 a.m., we had four people in line waiting to donate. Since then it’s been five cars at a time with four people working.”
The ReStore for Sea Island Habitat for Humanity on Johns Island was so busy that the man who answered the phone abruptly said, “It’s busy. Call back next week.” And hung up.
Animal Helpers ReTail Resale Store on Savannah Highway was having a typical stream of donors, steady but not extra busy, according to a clerk who didn’t want to provide his name.
But Goodwill’s Brown and others are bracing for even more donations the next two days for the usual combination of reasons: people making room in closets for new clothes received at Christmas, those preparing for the New Year by cleaning out old stuff and, for the budget conscious, donating in time for the 2012 tax season.
“The last three days of the year are typically very busy,” said Robert Smith, president of Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina, a North Charleston-based district that spans from Dillon County to Beaufort County and as far west as Calhoun County.
Though there has been talk of eliminating charitable deductions as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, that wasn’t on people’s radar screens on Saturday.
In fact, Goodwill District Manager Kim Blaney said that, based on her observations, only about 40 percent of donors even ask for a receipt for tax purposes.
On Saturday, Robert Brame of Mount Pleasant took a receipt Saturday after donating a chest of drawers, but he wasn’t sure he would use it.
“Half the time I lose these things. I always plan to use it (for my taxes), but usually don’t,” said Brame.
Likewise, Ginny Thaxton of Mount Pleasant asks for receipts only when she is donating something of larger value.
“It’s not the reason I donate to Goodwill,” said Thaxton. “I believe in the mission of Goodwill, primarily to provide jobs for people to learn how businesses work and to be a part of a business.”
Goodwill placed 890 people into jobs this year, as well as handed out $400,000 worth of vouchers to those in need for clothes purchases at Goodwill stores, according to Smith.
Like Thaxton, Marla Harvin of Sullivan’s Island was donating some housewares, primarily because she was planning to move to a new house, though she said she drops off items to the Ben Sawyer location about once a month.
Goodwill is preparing to handle the grand finale of 2012 — New Year’s Eve — by having its 40 staffers based at headquarters fan out to the 14 stores in the Charleston tri-county area and 13 others in outlying areas.
As for the fiscal cliff and the possibility of losing charitable deductions, Smith said all charities are concerned.
Tax deductions for charitable gifts “gives people an extra reason to be charitable, but at the end of the day, we’ll still need to focus on making a case as to why we are making a difference in the community.”