OpinionShopping at Salvation Army versus Goodwill

Shopping at Salvation Army versus Goodwill

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Since 1865, the Salvation Army has been dedicated to helping the needy all over the globe.  Operating in 131 countries with over 1.7 million members, the organization, founded by William Booth, is best known for two things: the red kettles people see in front of Wal-Mart during the holidays and their thrift stores.

Salvation Army thrift stores exist not only in America, but also in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Much like Goodwill, the Salvation Army takes donated goods and re-sells them at an affordable price, including furniture, clothing, toys and electronics.

What’s great about donating goods to the Salvation Army is that all items are tax-deductible, meaning whatever is given to the Salvation Army can be used to lower the tax bill or increase one’s refund, depending on the value of the product. When someone donates items, it’s important to ask for a receipt to keep track of what was dropped off.

Of course, people don’t go to a thrift store just to let go of no longer useable items, they also go there to shop. Shopping at the organization’s thrift stores is beneficiary to them since all funds go towards their rehabilitation centers and other programs.

The Salvation Army is focused on helping those in need. Keeping with their message, the group will hire ex-felons to work at their stores, depending on the person’s circumstances, and those individuals are allowed to work their way up to a manager’s position.

Additionally, the Salvation Army will put those who are homeless or in rehab through a special program called “work therapy.” The intent of this program is to help these individuals regain confidence and learn work skills; however, the program is not without its controversy.

Many have criticized the program for its strict working conditions and menial pay. A person in work therapy tends to work 40 hours a week and only earn upwards of 20 dollars. Also, rather than work up front, these people are relegated to the back, where they spend hours sifting through all of the donated items to see what’s safe to sell and what’s not.

The Salvation Army is also infamous for its stance on the LGBTQ+ community. Although the group claims to not discriminate such individuals and pledges support to them, their history says otherwise.

While the organization has been accused for certain practices and beliefs, this shouldn’t deter customers from continuing to shop at their thrift stores. All money from purchases goes towards their multiple programs, and donating items can be used as a means to lower the tax bill.

photo courtesy Salvation Army

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