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As year comes to a close, giving spikes

Two days remain to make donations for 2014 tax deductions, and local nonprofits are reaping the benefits.

Despite the drizzle, a steady line of cars made their way to the Goodwill store on Jake Alexander Boulevard Monday afternoon, and Rowan Helping Ministries reported that donations have been pouring in since Thanksgiving.

According to Blackbaud, a nonprofit services and software company, roughly 34 percent of all charitable giving is done in October, November and December, and 18 percent of those donations are given in December alone.

“It’s very typical to see an uptake in giving,” said Kyna Grubb, director of Rowan Helping Ministries.

The shelter’s food pantry was down to just one row of food on each shelf before the holidays, but now, it’s three boxes deep and four boxes high, Grubb said.

Melinda Wilshire, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s director of marketing and communications, said there several reasons end-of-year giving surge.

“We just came off the holidays,” she said, adding that many people receive duplicate items or try to declutter to make room for new Christmas presents.

Another reason is the tax deductions that go along with charitable giving.

“That’s a really big motivator as well,” Wilshire said.

Both Wiltshire and Grubb said that one reason they believe their organizations are popular recipients of end-of-year giving is that people believe in the organizations’ missions and goals.

“We’re making a difference for a lot of people,” Grubb said.

“We find a lot of our donors and shoppers who have been affected by unemployment,” Wilshire said, adding that a large part of Goodwill’s mission is putting people to work.

Clothes, electronics and Christmas decorations make up a large majority of end-of-year contributions at Goodwill, Wilshire said.

The organization accepts items that are clean, work and in good condition.

Those who are interested in claiming tax deductions for their donations should keep an itemized list of the items donated, along with the item’s fair market value, or what the item would sell for in a Goodwill store.

Men’s suites are valued at $9.99, coats are $7.99, adult shoes are $3.99, purses are $2.99, dishes and cups are $0.49 and paperback books are $0.99.

Grubb said Rowan Helping Ministies accepts food, clothing and monetary donations at the organization’s Ralph W. Ketner Crisis Assistance Center, located at 226 N. Long St.

Kris Mueller, who handles resource development at Rowan Helping Ministries, said four or five people walked into her office on Monday alone with financial donations.

“I was here a couple months ago to get help,” one of them told her.

“People are thankful,” said Emily Huffman, the ministry’s volunteer coordinator.

Mueller, who’s worked in fundraising in eight or nine different cities, said the local community is unique.

“I have never seen a community this generous,” she said, adding, “I’ve been in fundraising a long time.”

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