End-of-year donations pour into Augusta area thrift stores



Purging closets to make room for new gifts has kept Augusta-area thrift stores busy receiving donations before 2012 comes to a close.

“The last week of the year is a lot of scurrying around,” said Jim Stiff, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “Once people finish Christmas shopping and Christmas presents are opened, we become the re-gifting place of choice.”

Incoming donations peak the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Stiff said. Goodwill stores add extra staff and extra hours to handle the influx of boxes filled with clothes, toys, household goods and other items.

Many dropping off donations are also looking for last minute tax write-offs. Goodwill employees attend to thrift stores and freestanding donations boxes to give donors a receipt for tax purposes, Stiff said.

At Mercy Ministries Thrift Shop on 15th Street, director Fran Oliver and her staff did not know what to expect this week. The store, which opened in November 2011, was barely two months old for the last New Year’s rush.

Oliver said donations have increased throughout December. The store was even busier on Thursday and Friday, and the schedule for pickups was nearly full.

“People want to get things out of the house,” she said. “We hope that keeps going.”

Goodwill Emporium stores a portion of the goods it receives this week to sort and sell in the later months of the year when donations aren’t as plentiful, Stiff said. Sorting through the donated items is part of Goodwill’s job training program.

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To get a tax write-off, Goodwill executive Jim Stiff recommends making an itemized list before bringing in donations. Before preparing taxes, assign a fair-market value for each item, which is typically the price the item would sell for in the thrift store. Visit www.goodwillworks.org/donate for suggested values and Goodwill donation locations in the Augusta area.