BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Parents and students are preparing for school, and that includes clothes shopping. In this tough economy many are looking to score a bargain at local thrift shops, but even the stores are hurting. Hands of Hope Thrift Store in Bangor has the lowest inventory of clothing in over a decade. Donations are at an all-time low and the store is worried once the back to school shopping is over the racks will be bare.
Hands of Hope director, Kathy Harvey, said there are more shoppers than donations.
"Shopping is heavier than it has ever been because people need a good deal right now. You know they are looking for two or three dollar pair of jeans and we have them to offer," said Harvey.
Rae Ricagliano, a cashier at Hands of Hope, has watched the traffic of parents and kids getting ready for school.
"A lot of people are coming in, people that have four or five kids and they are stacking their cars full of clothes, said Ricagliano. "Today we sold a lot of clothes and without having any [clothes] out back there is nothing to replace them."
Normally, spring cleaning and leftovers from summer yard sales cause people to drop-off bags of clothes. Harvey said they have been waiting, but the donations are not coming.
"Usually our reserve this time of year is right to the ceiling and we are spending weeks trying to catch up and it's not. We just have a few bags on the floor so that shows us right there is a problem," explained Harvey.
In an effort to boost donations, for every pair of jeans received the donor will receive between one to two dollars. According to Harvey, they need all types of clothing, but there is a special need for junior and childrens' clothes as the school year approaches.
Donations can be dropped off at Hands of Hope anytime from nine to eight Monday through Friday and ten to five on Sundays.