Donation sites see an influx of drop-offs as they reopen

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For a lot of people, being stuck at home meant finally getting around to cleaning out their garage or reorganizing closets. The evidence of that spring cleaning is now piling up at donation drop-off sites.

“It’s been fantastic, it really surpassed our expectations,” explained Pamela Russom, Marketing Manager for Goodwill Industries of New Mexico. “Our donations were up 40% over this time last year, so using that as an example, that was phenomenal.”

Russom said donations are up 40% just from over the weekend after they reopened on May 16.

On Tuesday, KRQE News 13 spotted a steady line of cars with people dropping off boxes and bags, things like clothes, household items, and furniture. A lot of people said they’ve been saving stuff to donate after being stuck at home for two months and purging things they just don’t need anymore.

Drivers can pull up and unload items themselves for a contact-free drop-off, or they can wait in their car while a worker unloads the heavier items. Russom said the donations are critical and help fund programs like Gateway to Work, which helps people find jobs.

“They’re absolutely used for the best purposes possible, and if you really want to make a difference, it seems like right now is a great time to try to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Russom. “So help us get people back to work.”

Donation sites across New Mexico have been closed for weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak, but it hasn’t stopped some people from just dumping items. Some places are still closed for drop-offs like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Animal Humane’s Thrift Store in Albuquerque.

Russom said Goodwill is following CDC guidelines for safe practices. Each item donated goes through at least a 72-hour quarantine in the warehouse before it hits the store floor, but they do not go through extra cleaning.

“We’ve not been presented with any evidence that COVID-19 is spread through household items or clothing unless it’s an immediate contact,” said Russom. “So the natural quarantine process is sufficient for what we’re doing.”

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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