Charities see end-of-year donation rush

WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES It's a win-win situation: Help someone in need and get a deduction on your 2010 income taxes.

It's the busiest time of year for charitable donations.

Drop-off locations like the /*Goodwill*/ store in Woodland Hills have seen a lot of traffic the past week as the holiday season has been inspiring people to give.

"We need every, all sellable items: textiles, clothing, hard goods, kitchen items, appliances, everything," said David Williams, Goodwill Southern California. "The more donations, the more retail sales. The more sales, we're able to serve more individuals."

An added incentive to donating gently used items is the tax break: donors say it's not the only reason they contribute. But it does give an extra push to get it done in December, a time when both the Goodwill and /*Salvation Army*/ see an increased demand for goods.

More than 90 percent of everything sold at Goodwill stores goes directly back into the community by way of programs that help the unemployed find work.

"What people don't know about Goodwill -- we're sort of the best-kept secret in that way -- is that the donations that are made by people in the community are actually helping people to secure employment," said Sasha Itzikman, Goodwill Southern California. "So when you donate your gently used item, you're not only giving an old coat a second chance, but you're giving people in Southern California an opportunity for employment.

By January, Goodwill of Southern California will hire an additional 300 people, and it's all made possible through generous donations.

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