CHARITY shop bosses are today making a desperate plea for support after donations slumped to an all-time low.
Where once Age UK in Fulwell was packed with interesting finds, staff now say rails and shelves are empty.
Workers say they are struggling to keep up with the demands of shoppers due to donations of clothes, books and cookware plummeting during the last three months.
Dean Wilson, assistant manager at the Sea Road store, has called on Wearsiders to pass on their unwanted items, including CDs, DVDs and games, so that the organisation, can get back to normal levels of stock.
Charity shops have suffered in recent times because of the economic downturn as well as the rise of cash-for-clothes businesses.
Mr Wilson said: “Our storeroom is usually piled high, but now it’s almost empty. Although this is a good thing, as it means we have sold what we had, we cannot cope with the increasing demand if nothing else comes in. We simply can’t sell fresh air.
“Without continued donations of everything from clothing to cookware, Age UK cannot continue its vital work to help improve the lives of older people across the country.”
Staff at the shop say they usually put about 200 new items on display each day, but a decline in stock means that they are now only managing to scrape together about 50 items.
Mr Wilson added that the amount of items given is unimportant.
“We have a lot of supporters who donate regularly to our shop, which we’re extremely grateful for, but we are still struggling,” he said. “We are looking for quality items, no matter how big or small.
“And remember, each time you donate stock to Age UK, please Gift Aid it, which gives us an extra 25p for every £1 we make.
“Anything we cannot sell gets recycled through our recycling partnerships, so nothing goes to waste.”