There is no rest during the holidays for Socorro Prieto.
Instead of relaxing, the amicable manager of the Goodwill drop-off center sees a flurry of action.
Bags overflowing with old toys, VHS tapes, sweaters and jackets are whisked from donors to Prieto by the carload.
"They keep coming in, coming in - in bunches all day," Prieto said Friday morning, following a spurt of five donations in about as many minutes behind the Kettleman Lane store.
Indeed, this is the busiest time of year for Goodwill. People clear out their closets and living rooms, making way for new Christmas toys and clothes. The store braced for up to 400 individual donations Saturday, twice the number it usually receives, said Sally Wooden, a spokeswoman for the charity.
She added that the Lodi store saw the most donations of any in the San Joaquin Valley, perhaps a marker of the city's generosity, she said.
Making a quick stop Friday morning, Rob Lechner of Lodi handed a few sets of neatly folded clothing, a used book and toy to Prieto.
The donation was simply "the right thing to do," said Lechner, who works for the Lodi Electric Utility.
It also keeps the items out of the landfill, and provides those in need with discounted items, he said.
About half the items donated to Goodwill are in good enough shape to put in the charity's store.
Whether it's finding false teeth or a distinctive set of glassware from the 1960s, combing through the store's heaping donation bins is quite an adventure.
"It's like a treasure chest," said Meghan Piper, who sorts through donated housewares for Goodwill.
Items accepted by Goodwill:
The charity accepts numerous electronic items, working or not, along with many other miscellaneous items. They include:
• used computers and monitors
• printers, fax machines
• cell phones
• televisions, VCRs, DVDs, tapes
• clothing, toys
• housewares and small furniture
Items that are not accepted:
Goodwill does not accept large office machines, large household appliances or other items, such as:
• water heaters
• stoves, ovens
• roofing materials
• guns, explosives
• broken items
• mattresses, box springs
• sinks, toilets, plumbing supplies
Strangest items dropped off:
• an urn containing ashes
• a female pitbull
• a canary
• false teeth
• adult diapers
Other places to donate:
Residents can also donate items that are in good or working condition to the Lodi Community Service Center at 415 S. Sacramento St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact the center at 331-7516.
They Salvation Army makes donation pick-ups in Lodi. Contact them for an appointment at (800) 958-7825.
- News-Sentinel staff.
Two years ago, Goodwill began accepting electronic items. Many - like in the case of broken televisions or computer monitors - are sold to state-certified recyclers. Other items, like jackets that are too worn or soiled, are sold on the salvage market, Wooden said.
They might just reappear one day, as say, carpeting, rags or a quilt, she noted.
"We have to find ways to reuse them instead of sending them to the landfill," she said, noting the company was socked with a $150,000 landfill fee a few years ago for all the items it had to dump.
Revenue from the sales goes toward free job training programs, some of which focus on disabled residents or newly arrived immigrants, Wooden said.
Of course, when it comes to donations, Goodwill can't take everything.
It does not accept large household and office appliances, like washing machines or air conditioners.
That doesn't stop people from dropping off those items in the dark of night.
"Toilets, sinks … refrigerators, stoves, you name it," Prieto said, listing some of the items Goodwill gets, but doesn't accept.
Wooden noted that Goodwill's surveys show that convenience is the No. 1 reason people drop off old goods at their stores.
"And yet they also get the good feeling that they know they're donating to a charity that's going to do something good," she said.
The Lodi Goodwill store and dropoff center is at 808 W. Kettleman Lane. Donors can receive tax deductions for dropping off items in good condition.
Contact the store at 369-6052. The drop-off center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and is located behind the store.
For information about job-training offered by Goodwill, call: 466-2311.