Spring cleaning came with an added punch this year: people were told to stay home as much as possible during the outbreak of the coronavirus, so many took the time to clean out closets and garages. And that’s resulted in a massive amount of items to be donated.
“It's been overwhelming," said Maria Rodriguez, the manager of Friends of Multiple Sclerosis Society in Salt Lake. "Usually, a donor would have two to three bags, you know, small, but usually now it's been 20 bags, 30 bags. It’s been overwhelming.”
Many charities and thrift shops closed up shop as most were not deemed “essential” businesses, but this was not the case for the Utah chapter of Friends of MS. The charity never stopped accepting donations, especially as they offer a pick-up service rather than the typical drop-off donation other non-profits rely on, according to Rodriguez. While they’ve been able to keep accepting donations, Rodriguez said that’s as far as it’s gone.
“The stores are actually not taking that product," she said. "We have contracts with the Saver stores, and they haven't been open because they closed down to the pandemic. So we've been storing everything in storage units and just asking people to help us out and a lot of people have been really patient with us with this pandemic and calling us, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so great,’ you know. Everybody is acting happy because we're picking up, you know, they don't have to throw it away and they know it's gonna go to a good cause.”
Other donation options that closed when the pandemic began have started to reopen, including the Somebody’s Attic thrift shop in Logan. It opened with limited hours to accept donations again in May, but it’s been so overwhelmed by the quantity of items, the volunteers have been forced to stop early each day the store has been open.