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Thrift stores boom during pandemic

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s been two days since the new Volunteers of America thrift shop opened, and there’s already a warehouse filled with clothes.

VOA Michigan Director of Thrift Shannon Miller said 50 to 75 cars a day have been dropping off donations.

The two VOA shops in Lansing are at 5411 S. Cedar St. and 3800 W. Saginaw St.

Miller oversees all six VOA thrift locations in Michigan and said each has seen its fair share of quarantine baggage.

“Now we are receiving substantially more,” Miller said. “With people — with the stay at home order — cleaning their houses, we receive a lot more donations.”

They’re not alone.

“We’re probably about 25 to 50 percent more than we normally are when it comes to donations,” Miller said.

The mound of donations in City Rescue Mission Upscale Thrift shop, 3700 W. Saginaw St., says it all. The only thing standing in the way is where to put everything.

“We rely a lot on volunteers,” City Rescue Mission Upscale Thrift Executive Director Mark Criss said, “and also, of course, spacing is difficult. But it’s a good challenge to have.”

Criss said help is needed.

“We can’t use groups of people but individual people that are interested would be really helpful, and if they have flexible hours throughout the day it would be great,” Criss said. “One bag at a time, one box at a time.”

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