One of the countrys most popular holiday traditions is in full gear as donors race to get tax-deductible donations to charities by midnight Tuesday.
Charitable thrift stores like Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity ReStores are among the biggest beneficiaries, with donors expected to drop off tens of thousands of pounds of no longer-needed household goods this week.
Most of those charities are promising to keep donation drop-off points open as long as there are people in line Tuesday evening. Goodwill stores are open the latest, with hours typically ending about 9 p.m. The agency has an additional 17 drop-off sites that consist of attendants at trailers in parking lots, and those will be open until dusk, officials said.
The last week of December is traditionally the busiest of the year for charity thrift stores and New Years Eve is the busiest single day, because of the New Years Eve deadline for tax deductions. Goodwill Industries has estimated as much as 5 percent of its annual donations about 30,000 plus items come during the years final week.
Charity officials anticipate there might also be a bump in donations associated with donor fear that North Carolinas new tax laws might hinder getting deductions in 2014. However, charities are still assessing what, if any, impact might be felt by those changes in 2014.
Based upon our understanding at this point, Goodwill Industries will not see any impact on material donations. There may be a possible impact on monetary donations in the future, and we will be monitoring that, said Angela Amos of Goodwill.
Maj. Gerald Street of Charlottes Salvation Army says donations to that agencys stores area already running slightly ahead of last year, when relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims took a bite out of local donations. Goodwill Industries said it is also seeing a jump in donations this year and expects to end the year ahead of 2012.
Goodwill is by far the biggest operator of thrift stores in the region with 22, followed by the Salvation Army (four stores) and Habitat for Humanity Restores (two stores). Other thrift stores in the area include the Assistance League of Charlotte and the Habitat for Humanity Free Store and Furniture Bank.
Money raised by re-selling the donated goods typically pays for initiatives such as Goodwills job skills programs, which train people for industries known to be hiring, including banking and hospitality. The Salvation Army uses money raised at its stores to fund a residential rehab program for men that currently has about 100 tenants. It helps an average of 380 people a year.
The exception is Crisis Assistance Ministrys Free Store and Furniture Bank, which doesnt sell donated goods. Instead, it gives them directly to families who are coming out of homelessness with the help of charity housing programs. Most are in need of furniture after living in a shelter for months, while others may have shared a home with friends or family, officials said.
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