Thrift stores, volunteer networks see rise in donations amid pandemic
During the Covid-19 situation, even after the circuit breaker and in phase two of Singapore's reopening, thrift stores and volunteer organisations have seen an increase in donations.
Ms Janette Tan, founder of SiloamXperience Outreach, a volunteer network that helps the needy both locally and overseas, says her 11 volunteers at the storehouse have been "stretched" with handling a fourfold increase in the number of donations, mostly clothes, shoes and toys.
These are distributed to beneficiaries in Singapore, Cambodia, India, Myanmar and the Philippines, or sold at its Thrift Store at Yishun, with the proceeds supporting programmes for the underprivileged.
Ms Tan told The New Paper: "Every day, people have been calling and bringing items to donate.
"I suppose there is more de-cluttering due to the fact that many (people) were homebound, so they had more free time at home or needed to make space."
Customers of secondhand fashion store Refash have also been snapping up slots for its courier programme.
Founder Aloysius Sng said the home collection programme, which picks up clothes any time at a fee of $10, doubled in intake each month since June.
For a free courier programme which takes place bi-weekly, he said all 150 slots get filled within 10 minutes.
But the number of rejections of clothes by Refash increased by 3 per cent last month, which is added to the bulk of clothes it sells to third party retailers, with the cash and donated to charity.
Mr Sng said: "Sales are back to pre-Covid-19 levels, which is very encouraging. People are tightening their wallets and are switching up consumption habits.
"We hit more than $10,000 a day during our end-of-season sale clearance (after) three months of not being able to sell."
Ms Fion Phua, founder of volunteer network Keeping Hope Alive, said that with more warehouses and companies closed, she has received more donations in bulk since May.
These include about 90 sofas and stools from Teo Heng KTV Studio, 15 mattresses from HipVan, 200 drawers from Toyogo and 400 pillows from a single donor that were donated to underprivileged families in 13 estates islandwide.
Ms Phua said: "With the Covid-19 situation, we have to be responsible for cleanliness and are more cautious about donations."
Pass It On (PIO), Central Singapore Community Development Council's non-profit online portal that helps facilitate donation of items to local beneficiaries, has seen an average increase of 30 per cent of donations over the months of April to July, compared with the same period last year.
Ms Denise Phua, mayor of the Central Singapore district and a Member of Parliament, said: "One reason for this increase could be that people have become more environmentally conscious.
"PIO is a good platform for them to prevent wastage and help others in need."