Months of COVID-19-related time at home have inspired many people to clean out their closets, attics and garages.
In the early days of coronavirus-imposed shutdowns, however, would-be donors of their unwanted treasures had trouble finding organizations that would take them. Either the organizations’ operations were severely restricted, or there was hesitation about the safety of handling new inventory.
Since this summer, most nonprofits that resell donated merchandise have opened again and are accepting donations, even if on a more limited basis. It might be advisable to call ahead to any organization before loading up the car, however.
“We’ve been taking baby steps since we reopened July 16,” said Pam Moody, the Assistance League's vice president of resource development, speaking about the group’s thrift store on Eastwood Avenue. “At first we took only household goods. Six weeks ago we started allowing our members to bring in clothing; now that’s open to the public.”
The shop, staffed entirely by Assistance League volunteers, has been very careful to adhere to governmental regulations on COVID, Moody said.
“We have to make sure our staff and customers feel comfortable, so we’ve been open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and we accept donations only between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Starting this month, we decided to try expanding our Thursday hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m."
Complete information about what the store will accept and how to drop off donations can be found on the Assistance League’s website
The Bargain Box, a nonprofit thrift store whose proceeds primarily benefit the Good Shepherd Center, asks that individuals wanting to donate clothing or household items call and make an appointment to do so.
“Often we can arrange same-day appointments,” said Bargain Box employee Jennifer Parrish. “We are taking all kinds of clothing and housewares. We are holding the clothing for 24 hours, then steaming it ahead of stocking.”
Information on the store, what donations it is accepting and current donation protocols can be found at https://www.bargainboxofwilmington.com/
All three locations of Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores are open for business and for donations with no appointment necessary, said staffer David Lindsay. The stores’ hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, but donations cannot be accepted after 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and after 4 p.m. Saturday, he added. A list of items and materials the ReStores accept is printed on the organization’s website
Vintage Values, whose three resale shops support Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc., is also open for donations. The organization accepts donations of clothing, household items and some furniture. An advance phone call to one of the locations is advisable.
Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC Inc. is accepting its normal range of donations during normal business hours, said spokeswoman Jenny Burke. That means gently used clothing, household goods and furniture, but no mattresses. The stores are closed Sunday and Monday, she added. A list of what is acceptable can be found online
Donations of books can be made either to the New Hanover County Library with an appointment or to Cape Fear Literacy Council. Both organizations use the proceeds from book sales to support their operations. CFLC asks that donors call ahead to ensure that the office is open.