Goodwill holds "Donate-a-thon" in San Francisco


It was something you don't see often -- police officers directing traffic on Mission Street at Goodwill's headquarters in San Francisco because there were so many people who just wanted to give.

It's become as much of a tradition as a champagne toast -- people showing up on New Year's Eve to give to the Goodwill.

"It's off the charts," Goodwill Marketing Director Deborah Bouck said. "I mean, we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people today; usually long lines down the street, down Mission Street."

So, for the first time, the Goodwill decided to turn the day into a celebration. They're giving away snacks, movie tickets, tickets to the zoo, and they even have bellhops ready to take your donation.

"I heard the advertisement and thought it would be a good idea to come and support Goodwill," donor Taifa Nichols said. "I do shop at Goodwill quite often. And so it's a good time to start the year fresh and clean out my closets."

The giveaways are a good incentive, but a lot of people were there to make the tax deadline.

"This is the last day for tax write-offs," donor Lulu Feliciano said. "I mean, it's not the only reason why I donate, but why not?"

The Goodwill says the tax write-off is more of an incentive in some areas of the Bay Area than others.

"Our research on our donors has shown that it's more important in San Mateo County, it's a big deal for them," Goodwill Director of Donations Leslie Bilbro said. "In Marin County it's the environment, and in San Francisco it's also the environment, but the way we help people."

Whatever the reason, the region is very generous. People in the Bay Area give away more than 20 million pounds of stuff each year. A good chunk of it comes in this week. And workers say the stuff is good.

"We get Chanel, we get Prada, we get Stella McCartney, we get Michael Kors," Bilbro said. "So what you find at Macy's, at Bloomingdales, you'll also find at Goodwill."

A DJ was playing at the Goodwill Friday morning, and a live band will start entertaining crowds at 2 p.m. Goodwill officials say there are still plenty of tickets -- movie tickets and tickets for the zoo.

They say they'll be open until 5 p.m. and note that this event is only taking place at the Goodwill location in San Francisco on Mission Street.

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