Goodwill sees a surge in donations as people declutter during stay-at-home orders

All of that spring cleaning during the pandemic has led to a huge surge in donations at Goodwill of Southern Los Angeles County.

"There are years we have gotten 20 tons of product here. This year it would probably be closer to 40 tons of product if not more," said Janet McCarthy, President and CEO of Goodwill Southern Los Angeles County.

More than half of what the non-profit receives is clothing. Just about every stitch is resold. If not at its 17 stores, the items are tightly packed into cubes and shipped outside of the country.

"There is a market for just about everything. People collect, save and hoard quite honestly," McCarthy said.

But not everything being sorted at this clearinghouse is sellable.

"We've seen urns with the ashes in there, we've seen some stuff that I can’t say on TV... sometimes things are just a one time use," explained Goodwill Operations Manager Colleen Khuon.

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While other items are literally diamonds in the rough.

"We do anything from 14 karat gold to costume jewelry. Right now she’s working on some brooch lots."

The donations that are considered "high-value" are taken to the listing lab. From jewelry to collectibles like vintage comic-books to sports memorabilia. 

"One of our biggest categories is surprisingly legos. These, once set up in a display, can go anywhere from $100, the highest set we sold for $1,100 to a gentleman out of Brooklyn, New York."

Pictures are taken of the items and they’re sold for auction online — and nearly all of the profits go directly to helping people.

"These cups and these plates... This is turning into job training for someone. Every time we sell it .89 of every dollar goes right back into those programs," said Goodwill Southern Los Angeles County Retail District Manager Tony Botts.

Programs to give the homeless and low-income families a fresh start.

"They’re completely out of poverty, they’re self-sufficient, they own a home, have children and they’re living a life now they’re not living on the streets," explained McCarthy.