Local News

Salvation Army Racks Overflow With Donated Clothing

Posted September 2, 1999

— Most of us have clothes in our closets we have not worn in years, but more and more people are giving their extras away. As a result, the racks at donation centers are overflowing.

The simple explanation for the increase in donations is that we have become addicted to shopping. Americans bought more than 17 billion articles of clothing last year, according to a market research group. In just five years, there has been a 16 percent increase in how much people buy.

But it could be thriftiness that is driving people to shop for more clothes. Clothing costs have risen just 13 percent in a decade, while the average price for all consumer goods rose 34 percent. Women's clothes are actually cheaper now than they were six years ago.

That is good news for needy families, who are using more donated clothes than ever. From casual wear, to something a little more dressy, the racks are full at the Raleigh Salvation Army.

"The community has been very generous and we have more bags of clothing than we can unpack," says Susan Rhymer.

The Bargain Box in Raleigh resells donated clothes. From designer items to wedding dresses, the manager says there is never a shortage of merchandise.

"You wish it, it comes the next day, it seems like," says Judy Adams.

Donors benefit from tax breaks and can feel good about helping the needy get back on their feet.

"It enables them to get an outfit they feel good about, that they look stylish in, and that they look professional in," Rhymer says. "It gives them a huge boost of confidence when they go out for that job interview."

Because of all the extra clothing, the Salvation Army and other donation centers say they are always looking for volunteers to help sort the merchandise.

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