By Sarah Snyder
'Tis the season for shopping, and just days before Christmas, bargain hunters are out in full force. While the mall seems to be bustling, local non-profit shops say the weakening economy is affecting sales in drastically different ways.
"We're not making what we used to make," Berlinda Licon, Manager of the Salvation Army in Odessa, said.
The Salvation Army in Odessa says, they're really hurting right now. Last year, the furniture room was wall to wall and this year, it's almost empty. And in the children's area - they say, last year, they could hardly fit everything inside, and this year, there's a little too much space.
"It's empty," Licon said. "Our shelves are empty."
When they turned the calendar to December, things started looking bleak. Store managers think it's all because of the weakening economy.
"Last year, it was pouring in, and this year it's not," Licon said. "Not even volunteers to help us keep it clean around here."
But the pain isn't just felt by the thrift shop. It's felt by all the entities of the Salvation Army.
"Hurting on the donations for the toys, the Angel Tree and stuff like that," Licon said. "There's still some angels hanging on the little tree waiting to get picked out."
But up the road in Midland, the Goodwill store has a very different story.
"Last month we had an 8% increase in donations," Goodwill Manager Jesse Garcia, said. "I think it's due to a lot of people cleaning out their furniture getting ready for the holidays and things."
Donations are pouring in, so much so that they're having trouble finding a spot to put everything.
"We've been climbing steadily and the community really supports us with their donations and we're really grateful for that," Garcia said.
They say the weakening economy is helping their sales big time.
"I think we've had an influx of people looking for bargains, and this is the place to find them," Garcia said.
Goodwill says their Odessa store is doing just as well. Shoppers are on the hunt for not only necessities, but discount holiday gifts. Both stores say the sales are even better than this time last year.