Those who have been clearing out their closets and cupboards during lockdown were invited to donate via specially booked appointments at the charity’s Central Warehouse in Lincoln.
St Barnabas’ Head of Retail, Caroline Peach, said: “We were absolutely delighted to see so many people taking us up on our offer of donating safely and with social distancing at our Drive-Thru.
“Thanks to all those people who donated, we are now stocked with enough items to begin opening our charity shops. In one week alone, supporters brought us more than 2,000 bags and boxes of items which are currently sorting through for our charity shops. I am excited to see how many more items come through before our Drive-Thru closes temporarily at the end of this week.”
This surge in donations means that from Monday, the charity’s Birchwood store in Lincoln was open, with Wragby Road and The Forum able to open next week. The rest of the charity’s shops, including those in Sleaford and Ruskington, as well as Horncastle, Spilsby, Louth, Horncastle, Skegness and Mablethorpe, should all then be open by the end of July.
Caroline added: “Our Drive-Thru slots are fully booked, but if anyone else has donations, then from July 13, please do bring them to our Central Warehouse on Cardinal Close in Lincoln. As our shops re-open, they will also be accepting donations, but would urge people to spread out or stagger these over a few weeks, so our staff and volunteers can sort through them safely and so we don’t run out of room in the shops.
“We have plans to open up our Donation Drive-Thru again soon, but our main focus now is to open the shops back up so we can start once more to raise money for the Hospice.”
St Barnabas has also asked those sorting donations to consider quality over quantity and to be mindful when selecting items to donate.
Caroline continued: “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our hospice so far with the Donation Drive-Thru, and to our customers who are being so patient while we ensure our shops are safe to be re-opened. A special mention must go to our volunteers, new and old, who have stepped in to help us process a huge number of donations and get them out to the shops.”
The St Barnabas charity shops will have a one-way system in place, hand sanitiser provided and staff and volunteers will be wearing appropriate PPE. Customers are asked to observe social distancing throughout the shop.
St Barnabas has 26 shops across the region, since 2012, the Hospice has sold around 750,000 items with a turnover of more than £16million for its essential end of life care and associated services.