Month after recessionary month, economists eagerly wait for consumers to start buying again. But so do many nonprofits.
When people don't replace a patio set, a coffee table or a television, there's not an old one to donate. Donations fall again when cash-strapped families sell their castoffs instead of giving them away.
The effect has been profound for some Kansas City area nonprofits that resell donated items in thrift stores.
At the Helping Hand of Goodwill Industries, the average size of donations has been shrinking since 2008, resulting in as much as 95,000 pounds less each week compared with two years ago. Sales of donated goods at thrift stores provide about 40 percent of Goodwill’s revenues.
Even as the economic downturn brings more buyers into thrift stores, the Salvation Army is delaying the debut of its new store in Lawrence by two weeks. Why?
"The donations are not coming in," Capt. Troy Barker said.