Busy hands are happy hands.
When many hands were idled as stay-at-home orders spread across the nation, they chose spring cleaning to make themselves happy. Garage sales seem unwise under social distancing guidelines, so rather than making a quick buck off unwanted items, lots of spring cleaners chose a tax deduction instead and headed for Goodwill.
But in some parts of the country, the staff at Goodwill centers are overwhelmed by all the goodwill.
In California's San Joaquin Valley, for example, stores aren't even accepting curbside donations, but people keep dropping items off. "A lot of individuals started leaving merchandise at our back doors," Denise Ost, CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Joaquin Valley, told a local news station. "We've had to call back our truck drivers and truck helpers to service our locations with a snow shovel basically and big bins and pay to haul it off to the landfills."
When those stores do officially reopen, they'll probably see long lines of cars waiting to donate goods, as four Seattle-area centers did over Mother's Day weekend. Despite the process being slowed down by health precautions, the centers saw a 20% increase in donations over what a typical busy weekend is like.
In the Washington, D.C., area, it took 46 days of accepting donations without selling anything before the area's 20 Goodwill centers ran out of storage space. That was despite the centers collecting just 40% of the amount of items they collected over the same time period last year.
Across the country, a majority of the 3,300 Goodwill stores were temporarily closed because of the pandemic. Lest we forget, those stores aren't just about getting an ugly sweater for a bargain or snagging a tax deduction for grandma's couch. According to Goodwill, the international nonprofit organization helped train more than 242,000 people for careers, even in advanced industries such as healthcare and banking.
Most of that training is suspended due to local health guidelines. Worse, since Goodwill is losing revenue while stores are closed, many of the local stores have had to furlough their workers.
If you're looking to lend a hand, as a nonprofit organization, Goodwill and its local chapters still accept cash donations. But if your neighborhood Goodwill store isn't taking donated items, don't drop off your stuff. Soon enough, they'll reopen and be more than happy to accept your goodwill.