PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The holidays are a popular time for giving.

Many people pack up bags of old clothes and donate them in the spirit of the season, but some charity organizations say they are in need of something else this year.

“I can absolutely guarantee you that Goodwill will take your donation any time of year,” says Michael Smith, the president and CEO of Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Goodwill will never turn away your gesture of goodwill, but all those boxes of donations during December take a toll on the agency’s bottom line.

“It depends how much is in the box, but we go through every box,” says Smith. “We only pick the best of the quality from the donation and that makes it to the sales floor. I would say an average box probably takes about 30 minutes to go through.”

Smith says those donations are the lifeblood of Goodwill, but it can be overwhelming. Other agencies agree, like St. Vincent de Paul in Penn Hills. They say cash is still king.

“Last year, we spent over $100,000 cash providing utility assistance for people who may have had their heat shut off in the winter, maybe losing their electric,” said Keith Kondrich, of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “So, this time of year, cold weather sets in, people are struggling to get their utility bills paid and we need cash for that.”

Many donate before the end of the month so they can write off their donations on their tax returns, but cash has an immediate impact.

“A hundred percent of that donation goes directly to serve people,” Kondrich said. ��There is no administrative cost that comes out of that donation. So, if you give me $100, you can be assured that money is not paying for anything other than utility assistance, or furniture assistance or burial assistance for people in need.”

When you shop at Goodwill, there is an easy way to make monetary donations.

“We have a program in our stores now called Round-Up where you can actually round up your purchase to the nearest dollar,’ Smith said. “Again, an excellent way to help Goodwill fund its programs and services year-round.”

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