Area charities experience busy holiday season
by Clay Neely
With the Christmas season here and 2014 just around the corner, many Newnan residents have been utilizing the local Salvation Army and GoodWill stores for a variety of purposes.
While many are seeking to get their charitable donations in for a tax write-off in 2013, many have simply been shopping at the stores more than usual.
Most of the influx of items to local charities have been in excellent shape, an organization representative said. The term “gently used” is applied to many of the items, but employees have noticed many donations have been almost new.
Stephanie May, director of the Salvation Army programs and store in Newnan, has noticed many Christmas shopping at her store this year.
“People are still doing their best to provide Christmas, but they can’t afford to go to the big retail stores. However, it’s very eye-opening to me because it means that our products must be nice enough to be used as gifts,” she said.
“The donations have been nicer than in the past. My theory is people don’t have time to sell unwanted items, so they’re simply donating them,” said May.
Jackie Fowler, retail specialist for Goodwill, has overseen a very successful holiday season at her store so far.
“We’ve been doing great and I can’t say enough good things about the community. The support of both individuals and businesses has been pouring in. One notable thing I witnessed was a customer who played secret Santa for another customer. That was really nice to see. If people ask for a write-off, we’re happy to provide that.” May says it’s easier than ever to get a write-off.
“In terms of determining the value of items, the state provides the store with a guided sheet listing items and value on a chart,” said May.
“A bed frame, a shirt — we all have their determined worth that on the chart. We only write down the condition of the item on the receipt.”
According to The Tax Institute At H&R Block, it’s important for taxpayers to remember for charitable donations to be tax-deductible, they must be made to qualified, tax-exempt organizations (IRS-approved non profit, religious, educational or charitable groups), and claimed as itemized deductions on tax returns. Be sure to keep receipts and pictures as needed to substantiate donations.