Donations flowing again to New Hampshire charity thrift stores

Impact of shutdown on programs still unclear

GoodwillThe worst of the impact of Covid-19 on large thrift stores that depend on donations and sales to provide for customers and pay for programs appears to have finally passed.

Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores reopened recently and also began accepting donations again under state guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are back in full swing now,” said Amanda Herr, manager of the Goodwill store in Concord. “I am excited to be open again and seeing a lot of familiar faces.”

Goodwill and Salvation Army stores were ordered to shut down about two months ago as the COVID-19 pandemic became a public health crisis in the state.

Troy Finch, a supervisor at the store, said they depend on sales and the revenue from customers “rounding up” their purchase price to the nearest dollar to fund a variety of programs. He said 100% of that revenue goes to support programs for the homeless, veterans with brain injuries and other populations in need of services.

“We definitely felt the impact,” Finch said. “We have people coming here from out of state and some from three hours away. A lot of people were sad when we closed.”

Goodwill stores have instituted what they have termed “no contact” donations. Donors drive up and deposit their donations in different bins outside the store. Finch said the new procedure has been favorably accepted by donors and store employees. Inside, the store is limited to 34 customers at any one time.

“I know there is a need for our products and services in the community,” Herr said. “People have had to wait to drop off donations, but we are thankful that everyone is being polite.”

Salvation Army stores in several locations around the state were closed for seven weeks.

At the Swanzey store, store manager Janet Dodd said donations, which are by appointment only, are once again coming in. The customer limit is 40.

“People are very pleased that we are open again,” Dodd said. “We are getting donations.”

Both organizations operate a number of different programs that have had to be suspended or curtailed during the pandemic.

Herr said Goodwill has 11 group homes for veterans and all proceeds from store sales go to the homes, which are again operating.

The overall impact the shutdown had on the programs operated by both organizations is not clear.

“Those programs did take the brunt of the shutdown,” Finch of the Concord Goodwill store said.

Goodwill operates 11 thrift stores in New Hampshire, according to the organization’s website. The Salvation Army has five.

This article is being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

Categories: News, Nonprofits, Retail & Tourism

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