IF YOU'VE been on the hunt for an open donation bin in Tamworth to finally clear that bag of clothes out of your car boot, you're not the only one.
Tamworth's op shops have been inundated with generous drops of goods during December and January, to the point where the "no more donations" sign has had to be put up more regularly.
St Vincent de Paul Society area manager Julie Crosby said volunteers at the Tamworth Vinnies store could empty the big bins on the street between five and ten times a day over a crazy Christmas and school holiday period.
"Our ladies just worked harder, our gents worked harder - there is no stopping them, they're like little Energizer bunnies and they do such a fantastic job," she told the Leader.
Ms Crosby said the flood of donations has been met with an increase in customers too.
"It's like one big revolving door ... it's been a great few weeks in terms of shopping," she said.
"Because of COVID, I think there are a lot of families who don't have the income they used to and ... they are the families that I think are new to op shopping and Vinnies."
While Vinnies volunteers power through sorting as many donations as they can to help the community, they sometimes have to stop taking donations for a few hours to "cope with the enormity of what's coming through the door".
Because of COVID, I think there are a lot of families who don't have the income they used to and ... they are the families that I think are new to op shopping and Vinnies.Julie Crosby, St Vincent de Paul Society
The Vinnies store in the CBD and the one on Duri Road are otherwise accepting donations.
Ms Crosby said the influx of goods dropped at Vinnies' doors had helped "spread the love" between towns, with an excess in Tamworth taken to outlying towns in the area.
She said it was critical that donations were of a quality "you would give to a friend".
"We pay tip fees like everyone else so if we have to take things to the tip that cuts out of our money and our money is to help the community," she said.
Ms Crosby said the donation inundation could also be put down to the fact other stores had shut up shop for Christmas.
St Johns Op Shop reopened early in the new year, but volunteer Carol Brice told the Leader the store had to sporadically close its bins to get their "heads above water" again.
The Salvation Army Family store bins remain closed, and the Uniting Church Op Shop closed down permanently.
It's understood the Red Cross shop on Peel Street takes donations in store.