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Cold Weather Impacts Charities - John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The cold weather is having a big impact across the mid-state, and it is even hurting local charities. Donations are dropping and giving is down.

Greg Phillips tries to stay warm while he collects donations for Goodwill. The trailer that normally fills up each day is less than half full. "There has been a noticeable difference in donations," says Greg Phillips.

At Goodwill stores, the lack of shoppers inside is a good indication of the weather outside. Cold temperatures and the threat of snow have a chilling effect. "Definitely less people are coming out because it's so cold outside, they're staying home, not coming to the Goodwill to shop or to donate," says Rivergate Goodwill store manager Jennifer Martin.

The weather is also having an effect at the American Red Cross blood donation center.  There have been a lot of empty chairs over the last few weeks. "Last  month we lost about 500 units, this month we've already lost 360, so that's a serious hit," says Regina Conway with the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross says it's an urgent situation. In the last two months, 29 blood drives have been canceled because of the weather. Last year there were no cancellations. The situation can literally mean life or death. "The need continues, because there are patients in local hospitals who need the help," says Conway.

Back at Goodwill, donations keep the doors open. "That's the lifeline of Goodwill, the donations, so it's very important," says Greg Phillips.

Perhaps the greatest need is for this freeze to thaw. "We're definitely hoping for some warmer weather which will bring people out, not only to donate, but to shop in all of our retail stores," says Martin.

At most Goodwill drop-off locations you don't even have to get out of your car to make a donation. The attendant is happy to take the items from your vehicle, which lets you stay warm.

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