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Donations triple at Salvation Army thrift stores as people purge during COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'Donations triple at Salvation Army thrift stores as people purge amid the pandemic' Donations triple at Salvation Army thrift stores as people purge amid the pandemic
WATCH: Thrift stores across Canada are experiencing a surge in donations. As people stuck at home in the pandemic turn to decluttering. Shelley Steeves has more. – Feb 9, 2021

Thrift shops across Canada are experiencing a surge in donations as people stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic turn to decluttering.

“People have a lot of space and time at home and they are cleaning up,” said Dwayne Irvine, who is a donation attendant at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Moncton.

Donations of clothing and household items at the Salvation Army’s 100 thrift stores across the country have tripled since the beginning of the pandemic said Ted Troughton, managing director of national recycling operations for the thrift stores across Canada.

“People have just been amazingly generous with these donations across the country. it has been just fantastic to see,” said Troughton.

Read more: Calgarians glad to see thrift shops reopening after COVID-19 shutdown: ‘This is awesome!’

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But the same driving force behind the spike in donations is also responsible for a decrease in sales.

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Troughton says retail sales at stores across the country are down 25 per cent due to temporary store closures and customer in-store limits, and he said the charity has also been forced to shut down nine of its stores that were no longer profitable as a result.

“It is unfortunate that we had to do that but our job is to make sure that we can generate funds for the Salvation Army and we need to find the best way to do that”, he said.

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He also said that the stores are seeing a large influx of new thrift shoppers and expect those numbers will increase, as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt across the country.

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“People are saying, like, we had two incomes and now we have one and that is creating a whole different dynamic for people, and I am not sure we have really seen the full effect yet,” Troughton said.

The excess donations are being warehoused until the vaccine rollout allows for store traffic and sales to increase. But those who are choosing to donate, Troughton says, can rest assured those donations will eventually be used for a good cause.

Read more: Professional organizer shares tips to declutter your closet

He said the profits generated from the sales at the thrift stores help to fund several Salvation Army charities, including food banks, senior care and homeless shelters across the country.

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