Donations on the rise at area thrift stores

Amy Kent/Clinton HeraldHarry Schaver, a volunteer at the Illowa Thrift Store in Fulton, Illinois, on Wednesday sorts a pair of jeans donated earlier in the day to a sale rack at the retail store. The store operates solely on donations.

CLINTON —The season for spring cleaning has arrived, and local organizations are reaping the benefits of all of those unwanted items.

The volunteers at Illowa Thrift Store in Fulton, Illinois, saw firsthand how the signs of spring influenced the donation totals, after receiving several bags of clothing in the last week.

It’s not a surprise to Harry Schaver though; he knows the donations come rolling in during this time of the year.

“The main source of our donations come during spring cleaning,” Schaver said. “That and what’s left over from garage sales that happen this time of the year.”

Mindy Kayser, a spokeswoman for Goodwill of the Heartland, said the national retail chain typically sees its donations increase in the month of March, but that people continue their support throughout much of the spring season.

In fact, Robyn Dunlavey, donation coordinator for Goodwill, said this March has seen a significant increase in the amount of donations the Heartland region when compared with last year. 

“For March of this year the Clinton Goodwill Store received 16,313 pounds more than they did in 2014,” Dunleavy said. “Although we may not have seen a large increase in the people in the Clinton community that donate to Goodwill, we did see a very large increase in the amount that people were giving.”

Bargain Bonanza Assistant Manager Sue Larson believes part of that increase is due to the nice weather the area has had so far this spring.

And like Schaver, Larson sees many of the donations come in following garage sales.

“We get (donations) pretty good year round, especially women’s clothing, but small appliances and stuff like that does seem to dwindle a bit during the cooler months,” Larson said. “But as soon as the weather starts to warm up, like last week we had a little warmer weather, and the donations were huge. It will usually stay like that through the whole summer.”

If interested in donating any unwanted items found during spring cleaning, there are a variety of options available in the Clinton area. Illowa is willing to accept donations during business hours, while Bargain Bonanza has its donation center open from 9 a.m. until noon on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Whether it’s a small bag of clothing, an old couch or appliance no longer getting use or any other unwanted items, every little bit counts to Dunleavy.

“We are always so grateful to see new people giving their unwanted goods to support our mission,” Dunleavy said. “Every new donor is so appreciated.”  

Clinton Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at amykent@clintonherald.com.

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