Thrift Stores in Ontario are Open and Accepting Donations

by Caroline Franks
Categories: Divisional News

Ontario’s Salvation Army thrift stores are open for business!

After being shut down for more than 100 days due to pandemic restrictions affecting non-essential stores, people can once again shop or drop off donations.

“There were lineups at most of the stores, if not all of them, so we’re really happy to see everybody and they are happy to see us,” said Lindsay Robinson, The Salvation Army’s National Recycling Operations (NRO) Marketing and Communications Manager.

“We are operating at a significantly reduced capacity, but we had a stellar weekend regardless. Many guests that come into the stores are regulars and our store staff know people by name so it was great to see familiar faces and be able to welcome them back.”

According to Ontario’s COVID-19 protocols, thrift stores were deemed a non-essential service, resulting on the closure of the 41 NRO thrift stores and 50 Corps-operated stores, which had a substantial financial impact on funding for Salvation Army programs and services.

The COVID-19 shutdown did not stop thrift store managers from still being there to support the community in other ways. Working with Emergency and Disaster Services, store personnel would aid families or people in crisis, such as following a fire at their home. In cases like that, store managers would collect clothing and furniture for the family and provide it at no cost.

“Vulnerable members of the community that work with Community and Family Services were able to redeem a voucher despite the closures. The staff would compile the items on their voucher and we provided curb side pick-up for them to make sure they were getting their needs met, free of charge,” Robinson said.

May Strutt, National Communications and Engagement Specialist, National Recycling Operations, said they sought to maintain a connection to the community with regular communications to Ontarians through email newsletters and social media.

“In Ontario, many people appreciated hearing from us throughout the temporary closure. We shared good news stories, let people know that we are still here serving neighbours in need and that being part of our community helps make a positive impact in so many ways,” Strutt said.

Since stores have reopened, there has been a major influx of items being dropped off at thrift stores. Robinson thanked donors for stockpiling their household items for when stores started taking in donations again.

“Donations are the heart of what we do, and we would not exist without them. We’re so glad that people have been able to hold on to their donations during the closure. A lot of people did, which is great to know that people kept us in mind,” Robinson said.

Summer clothing, footwear, and accessories, as well as useful household items in gently used good condition, are much needed at Ontario’s thrift stores. No large furniture is currently being accepted and clothing should not be soiled, stained, or wet.

The Salvation Army asks that donations be dropped off only during the posted opening hours of the store. Thrift store locations and hours can be found online at Please contact for more information.

By Chris McGregor