After months of stay-home, donors jam Goodwill outlets

Washington County

Spring cleaning during quarantine factors in to surge

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On the heels of Goodwill announcing it would be reopening several of its locations across the state, many Oregonians have taken the opportunity to donate.

A long line formed in front of the Goodwill Airport Outlet Tuesday with people wanting to drop off their unwanted items. A spokesperson for Goodwill said the location usually gets about 100 people to donate on a good day but on Monday, there were more than a thousand people.

The influx of donations is largely due to people using the “stay home” order for the past two months as an opportunity to clean, reorganize and gather up unused items.

“I heard the stores were open and I’ve been gathering a big pile during this whole thing. I just wanted it out of my house,” said Michelle DeLeon, donor.

While the surge in donations is great for Goodwill’s operations, the pandemic has presented the nonprofit with an extensive list of new safety protocols to follow. For instance, donations are now quarantined for 72 hours and then sterilized before hitting the shelves. Goodwill said it will also be relying a lot on cooperation from both donators and customers.

“We would prefer the donor have gloves, face coverings as well especially if they are going to hand us” said Goodwill spokesperson Dale Emanuel. “We can’t grab things out of your trunk because things are being quarantined. If it took a couple people to load the car, bring the same people.”

Emanuel also recommends donators consolidate as much as possible based on an item’s size and weight.

“Think about the categories of things,” she said. “The soft goods might go in one bag and this is just to expedite things because there are so few of us now working. Out of 3,000 we have about 250 people working now and we are trying to serve everybody.”

Goodwill store employees are required to wear mask and gloves. Inside the store, dressing rooms and drinking fountains are temporarily unavailable. Shoppers will also see markers on the ground reminding them to stay six feet from the next person.

Emanuel recommends anyone planning to donate should arrive early.

Goodwill said it will be opening about 12 more locations by the end of the week, but is not specifying which ones yet to avoid potential crowds. For more information, visit Meetgoodwill.org.

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