Thrift stores in Sheridan have seen more people come through their doors during the down economy, but the Salvation Army isn't getting their normal cash donations in order to keep up with that increase.
Sheridan Salvation Army Captain Captain David Leonard says that the sales at their 956 Coffeen Avenue location in the past two years has been up, but their charitable cash contributions were down in the most recent fiscal year, causing them to operate at about eight percent below their projected income for the year.
“It's been my experience where I've had appointments where this has happened before,” said Leonard. “I had seven thrift stores in Tuscon, It's kind of a double whammy, eight percent isn't too terribly disheartening, but when you get the two other parts of the equation with the decline of contributions, and an increase in individuals coming to the stores we serve, it adds to that.”
One specific area of decline is the Salvation Army's direct mail appeal. This donor-base periodically gets information sent out to them around Sheridan and Johnson counties – which Leonard's chapter serves. Leonard said direct mail contributions have declined by about $22,000 from what they usually see during the last year.
In the past The Salvation Army has had fundraisers in Sheridan, but Leonard said it has been two years since they have had one. He said it's something that they are looking into in the future to help them with the task of trying to serve more people with less capital.
Holy Name Thrift Store Traffic, Donated Items Both High
One thrift store in Sheridan that is seeing a trend of high-traffic brought on by tough times of recent years is Holy Name Catholic Thrift Store, located at 345 E Burkitt.
Coordinators Liz Gale and Pat Thuesen have more donated items than they can handle, and Gale says for the past few years they have served a large number of people from the Sheridan community.
“It does very well, and we provide for a lot of people, very much so, the entire community uses it,” Gale said. “It's for everyone, we get people from every walk of life.”
She said that with the summer season comes an influx of Garage Sales leftovers dropped off at their store. Gale said they appreciate these donations, and this year was so generous that, right now, they are asking that people do not leave them anything else until they sort through all they have received this summer. She expects the store to take items again sometime in September.
In order to meet the demand, the entirely volunteer-staffed site plans to open one more day per week sometime in the near future. Right now the store is open Mondays and Tuesdays 8 am to 4 pm and Saturdays 9 am to 3 pm. Gale said they don't have specific plans for opening this extra day.