Coronavirus: Closed amid pandemic, Renaissance stores urge Quebecers to hang on to donations

Some Quebec non-profit organizations are asking Quebecers to hold on to their donations, especially when it comes to clothing or household items.

Renaissance collects gently-used donated items to be resold in its stores. It also helps people trying to reintegrate the workforce.

Normally goods can be dropped off at various donation centres or in designated bins. The coranavirus pandemic, however, has forced Renaissance to cease operations — and that includes accepting donations.

The organization’s bins have been locked up or picked up, but Renaissance CEO Eric Saint-Arnaud is urging people to not get rid of potential donations.

“Don’t throw It in the garbage, keep it,” he said. “It’s better to pile it up and wait.”

Allison Weisenburg, a professional organizer, said with more time on their hands, people are tackling more projects on their list and tidying up the clutter.

And while it might be tempting to just throw things out, it is possible to hold on to them for a little while longer.

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“You had the space before to have it in your house, so you obviously have the space to continue storing it,” she said.

Allison recommends keeping donations in labelled boxes or clear bags or even use a colour-coded system, and to store the items in a designated area like the basement or garage.

“That way, when things do open back up again, it’s really easy for you to load up your car and bring it over to that donation bin,” she said.

Saint-Arnaud said the need for donations will be even greater in coming months.

“After that crisis, people will need to have a place to go to buy stuff, good stuff.” he said.

Saint-Arnaud trusts the donations will allow the organization to help others get back on their feet.

“The more stuff that we’re selling, the more money that we will have to invest into the mission and help more individuals to integrate the workforce,” he said.

Amr Addas, a finance professor at Montreal’s John Molson School of Business, agrees, saying the pandemic’s economic fallout could have long-lasting impacts.

“We’re going to see a lot of job losses,” he said. “It could be two to three years at least before we can say we’ve gone through the worst of it.”

Hence the importance of non-profit organizations.

“There will be more demand for their services and the support that they’re able to help, especially those that are working with vulnerable people,” he said.

Montreal’s Sun Youth Organization, for its part, is continuing to provide emergency services throughout the pandemic.

While its clothing bins remain open, its markets are closed as the organization focuses its efforts on its food services.

“I don’t think anybody should be going out of their way to do the clothing right now, but we will need it down the road for sure,” said Eric Kinglsley.

Sun Youth is currently  ccepting food and monetary donations.

— With files from Global’s Olivia O’Malley

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