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Busy week for Goodwill
Manager hopes for more donations in down year
Goodwill employee Wes Jones takes several bags of donated clothes from Wally Lee, right, Tuesday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

      The days leading up to Christmas traditionally bring big business to area stores. For one local retailer, it is the following week that provides the bulk of its holiday traffic.
      An abundance of items no longer needed combined with tax benefits for donating old wares has the Statesboro Goodwill store preparing for a rash of business to close out 2010.
      Goodwill, whose mission is to help individuals with disabilities and other barriers improve their lives, generally relies on charitable hearts contributing goods to sell at discount prices. This week, however, many donors are visiting with an incentive.
      Friday - New Year's Eve - is the final day donations can be included in for 2010 tax purposes. Thus, throngs of people are making their way to Goodwill, for one last chance at a deduction for 2010.
      The tax breaks, along with a surplus of people donating goods that were replaced with Christmas gifts, make this week Goodwill's most hectic of the year.
      "Folks usually wait until the last minute to donate and get their tax credits," said Tony Brown, division manager for Goodwill. "This is our busiest time of the year, every year. We usually see about three times as many donors as any other given week."
      The store accepts any item "that someone would give to a friend or family member in need," Brown said.
      Items include: furniture, clothing, toys, books, jewelry and more. The retailer does not accept guns, ammunition, petroleum products or tires.
      Goodwill, located on Highway 80 East near Lowe's, picks up donations from a drive through on the store's side; donors can then get a receipt for their taxes.
       "We suggest that people make a list of items they donated, staple our receipt to it, and send it to an accountant," Brown said. "We can't determine how much the break is worth."
      Despite the post-holiday rush, Brown claims 2010 was the slowest he has experienced in eight years at the store.
      "It's really sluggish this year. A lot of folks are holding onto their things, or selling them themselves," he said.
      The Goodwill store usually accepts items from about 1,000 donors during December's final week, Brown said. Donations are only on pace to reach between 500 and 600 this week.
      "Our donations are down," said store manager Jessica Callaway. "The economy is bad. We're getting good stuff; just not enough of it."
      Brown said he is hopeful that donations will increase in the year's final three days. Goodwill will remain open until 7 p.m. every day through New Year's Eve.

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