Thrift Shops Flooded With Donated Items; Some Temporarily Closed to Get Caught Up

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GRIMES, Iowa — Whether you just had more time to do spring cleaning at home this year, or your typical garage sale was canceled, people have tons of items to donate. However, finding places currently accepting donated items is few and far between.

“I know right now there’s a lot of pent up demand or people are wanting to donate and there’s just there’s no place to go,” Founder and CEO of Many Hands Thrift Market, Tim Brand, said.

At the start of this pandemic, thrift stores had to be shut down because they were considered nonessential, but once they opened back up their doors people were ready to donate.

“We just got flooded with donations, and there was a major flood,” Brand said.

Trying to stay afloat, was Many Hands thrift shop in Grimes, along with many other second-hand stores. Some received so many donations, they had to stop accepting.

That was the case for one of central Iowa’s largest in the thrift industry, Goodwill. They’ve stopped accepting donations since mid-July. The Salvation Army Thrift Stores also have their donation drop offs temporarily closed.

“So all these other stores started to get backed up. Overnight all of our donations tripled. Literally from one day to the next all of a sudden, triple the donations,” Brand said.

Many Hands was seeing over 100 cars donating an hour during their small window of drop off times. Eventually, they had to also stop taking donations these past two weeks just to try and get caught up.

“We’re all trying to manage through the huge mounds of donations that came in because of COVID-19 and the ripple effect that happened downstream, that people don’t think about,” Brand said.

The DAV thrift store in east Des Moines, saw the same flooding of donations.

“We’re getting roughly 15,000 pounds a day in donations,” general manager Chris Blong said.

At this time, they are still able to keep their donations drop-off open, but it isn’t easy.

“I mean, at first the volume was a little insurmountable, but I gotta say the biggest thing is the team we got here,” Blong said.

They are working tirelessly to sort donations for those who need it most.

“The pandemic even helped me realize, you know, the importance of thrift stores. It’s not just a place to find a curie or a knick-knack, there’s a lot of things that people get here to survive,” Blong said.

That’s why thrift stores across the metro are urging people to still donate, one way or another, even if that means holding onto your items just a little bit longer while they get caught up.

“We’re going to get through this, but we are also asking for people to extend grace right now, and know that we’re doing the best we can,” Brand said. “We’ve got great staff. We got people that are working hard. We have lots of volunteers that are in here and we’re going to get back to normal again. We are super appreciative of those that have given and will continue to give to us.”

Many Hands not only helps those in the Des Moines metro with this thrift store but also helps support families in Haiti. DAV focuses their support to local veterans in need.

The Not New Shop is another small thrift store that supports Luthern Hospital in Des Moines.

Check their websites, Facebook pages, or call for updates on their donation drop off availability.

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