EDMONTON -- There was a steady stream of people dropping off donations at Goodwill’s donation centres Saturday—marking the first day it was open in about six weeks.

“We are donating all of the stuff we cleaned from our house during the quarantine,” said Danielle Laclaire, who made two trips with her SUV packed with toys. 

Doug Roxburgh with Goodwill said as soon as the doors opened at 10 am., there were 10 vehicles lined up outside the facility. And all day long, people brought bags, boxes and trucks full of items they had cleared out of their closets and houses during quarantine. 

“It’s been not overwhelming but more people than we definitely expected,” Roxburgh said. 

Since the end of March, Goodwill had temporarily closed its donation centres, employment programs and thrift retail stores. That also meant workers had been temporarily laid off. 

Re-opening meant employees were back to work, but this time were sporting personal protective equipment, disinfecting donations and collecting donations without making contact with others. 

About 30 per cent of Goodwill’s 750 employees has a disability and 89 per cent of funds raised go into programs that will help those with disability find a job. 

As Alberta’s unemployment rate rises, so too does the need for help.

Teresa Rocque, the founder of a Facebook group called “Campaign to Empower the Community—paying it forward” 

She said her organization has also been busy. 

Rocque said she has noticed there’s been a higher demand for items—especially clothing—-which is why she and her team of volunteers have been collecting clothes and other items, washing them and dropping them off to families in need. 

“There’s a lot more families now that are requesting help with clothing that wouldn’t have previously requested it because they were working and they could’ve made ends meet as much as they could,” Rocque said

“We did a clothing drive last week and we probably got at least 40 of the big huge bags of clothing, we sorted and got them out to families and we probably gave about 30 families clothing,” Rocque said, who added she’s being asked about who people can contact for food, furniture and other items in need. 

“We got a lot of new members that came on to offer items, and we got a lot of members that joined, looking for items.”

Because of COVID-19, Rocque’s other organization Hearts Centre—whose mission is to help families in need—can’t run its three big fundraising Ribfest events. Instead, they’re selling Stawnichy sassauges.