Salvation Army, Goodwill provide more than clothes to Hawaii residents

Coronavirus

Some Oahu retailers re-opened their stores on Friday, but there are some retailers who provide more for the community than just clothes.

Salvation Army and Goodwill had to adjust or stop some important services during the COVID-19 shut-down.

On Friday, Goodwill re-opened their stores across Oahu with social distancing and health guidance in mind.

Many residents cleaned up their homes during the stay at home order. On Saturday, May 9, Goodwill was able to accept donations once again, and they were flooded with them.

“We had roughly 150 bags donated the first day filling up possibly eight bins,” said Goodwill Wahiawa store manager Carol McDaniel.

Goodwill’s mission is helping people with employer barriers, and their services were needed in a big way when thousands of Hawaii residents were laid off from work.

“Basically, it was a 100% increase in the number of people trying to access our service,” said Kelley Cho, Director of Communications for Goodwill Hawaii.

“I would say most of the people that came to us within the past two months were all people who were having trouble and were displaced or furloughed from work,” she said.

Goodwill assisted by helping people file for unemployment benefits and emergency financial aid, just to name a few.

“Most people don’t know that the store donation centers fund our employment programs, so when you’re shopping in our stores or just donate something to us it’s helping us provide to more than 10,000 people each year and that number will probably go up this year,” Cho said.

Salvation Army said they plan on re-opening its Kailua and Sumner Street locations on Oahu on May 22.

Hours will be Monday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Donations are being accepted at the Sumner Street location. Once the Kailua location re-opens, they’ll accept donations there too.

One service that was impacted and is expected to see an increase in need due to COVID-19 is the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.

“The thrift stores that we have on Oahu, the proceeds from those stores funds the program,” explained Maj. Ronalee Fenrich, Administrator for program at Adult Rehabilitation Center Honolulu. “The men are able to do this six month program at no cost to them and we had to close our stores in mid-March so we haven’t been able to bring in new men because of quarantine issues.”

KHON2 asked if there was a concern about an uptick in drug and alcohol usage due to COVID.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” Fenrich said.

“The stress of COVID. The financial stress, the isolation, there’s going to be a lot more issues with addiction, mental health and people not knowing how to cope,” she said.

With many residents on a budget, both thrift stores are encouraging residents to shop at their stores. Many have name brand designers and thousands of items of clothes, shoes, and household items.

“Your purchase saves lives and that’s not just a fancy tagline, that is the absolute truth,” said Maj. Fenrich.

Both stores have safety measures in place.

Goodwill takes each employee’s temperature before they walk in the door.

All stores will require a mask and will limit the number of customers inside.

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