Spring is typically a high volume season for donation-based organizations such as Goodwill, but with the shelter-at-home order, Goodwill on the Central Coast is asking community members to hold onto their donations until further notice.
Edmundo Rodriguez, Goodwill's Director for Risk Management, said people leaving their donations outside of stores despite them being closed has created some challenges.
The first being that there is not enough staff to collect the items.
In addition, the donated goods have created hazardous situations outside the stores.
“People coming to sift through the donated goods and take what they like and spread out what they don’t which leaves a mess, so we have to go clean that up because it does create a safety and health situation,” Rodriguez said.
As of Friday afternoon, the Pismo Beach Goodwill location is the only one open and does have three workers rotating shifts but only to manage the high volume of donations that are being left outside.
According to management, some are recovered but cannot be processed.
They add that they are thankful for the good intentions of those donating but urge community members to hold off so that the items can continue to help fund workforce programs.
“We help about 10,000 people in total per year and primarily that’s through the job centers but our programs also help a lot of people get back to work,” said Alan Martinson, Vice President of Retail for Goodwill on the Central Coast.
Martinson adds that his team is working on post-COVID-19 procedures for collecting items and will reveal those as soon as the shelter-at-home order is lifted.
All Santa Barbara County Goodwill stores are also closed during the shelter-at-home order.