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Post-holiday donation surge for Goodwill
Store expects tax breaks to bring business
W 122711 GOODWILL 01
Goodwill operations manager Michelle Moore, center, grins while being razzed by co-workers after bumping a rack into a moving bin as activities kick into high gear as end of the year donations roll in.

    Christmas has passed, but staff at the Statesboro-area Goodwill store hope the season of giving is still in full swing.
    Tuesday marked the kickoff for what is traditionally the organization’s busiest week of the year, and employees are optimistic that donations will increase dramatically through Saturday.
    “We usually triple our donations during the last week of the year,” said Tony Brown, division manager for Goodwill. “We normally serve about three hundred people in one week. In (Statesboro), we hope to serve about 600 people in the final two days of the week alone.”
    A busy store-room floor Tuesday hinted at the upcoming boom.
    “If you were to come in last Friday, you would have seen a bare building. When I walked out there today, it was jumping,” Brown said. “Being busy today is a good sign. We hope this week brings in a lot of folks.”
    The post-Christmas rush can generally be credited to a pair of factors, he said.
    Either donors are looking to part with used items to make room for new holiday gifts, or they are making a last-minute trip to take advantage of valuable tax breaks.
    Saturday — New Year’s Eve — is the final day donated goods can be counted toward 2011 taxes.
    “On the final day, everyone wants those receipts,” Brown said.
    The Goodwill store, located on Highway 80 East near Lowe's, will accept most “slightly used merchandise” in a continued effort to assist people who are less fortunate.
    Donors are encouraged to give furniture, clothing, toys, books, jewelry and more.
    “We take anything you would give a person in need,” Brown said. “We try to help people who may be a little less advantaged. This year, we have partnered with many organizations and will try to help them out by providing donations.”
    Employees at the store have worked diligently to make the experience for visitors as quick and convenient as possible, Brown said.
    People donating items can do so by pulling into a drive-through located at the side of the store, where staff will unload the haul and provide receipts. The process can be completed in less than one minute.
    “Donors do not even need to step out of the vehicle if they do not want to,” Brown said.
    Employees hope the convenience encourages more donations during what has been a disappointing year overall.
    “The entire year has been down,” Brown said — citing a slow economy as the likely reason. “We usually serve about 100 to 120 people on any given Saturday. This year, we are only getting about 60 to 65 donations on Saturdays.”
    The store will be open all week — from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. until the final customer is served on Saturday — Brown said. A full staff will be used Saturday to handle a potential rush.
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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