Mike Fletcher didn't find any notes waiting for him at the Women's Resource Center Thrift Shop after a weekend off.
When he arrived for work Monday, no one had called requesting he pick up a donation, mostly larger items that are hard to move. The sales floor looked thinner in places, too.
On Tuesday, he moved the last of the donated sofas from storage into the store on U.S. 31 near Pizza Hut in Traverse City. That brought the total to nearly 10.
"I save them for when we get slow," Fletcher said. "It was kind of empty."
Winter months frequently mean a leaner supply for some local nonprofits that rely on donors to boost their merchandise for people in need.
The reasons vary but could include any number of things: It's too early for spring cleaning; the holidays zapped a lot of people's attention; people don't hold garage sales when it snows.
Furniture and household items, such as dishes and cookware, are the most needed at the Women's Resource Center shop, Manager Carol Rose said. People seem to be shopping less for decorative items and more for necessities.
One dresser set was in storage Tuesday. A set of six drawers was on the sales floor.
"We're just dependent on people coming through the back door," Rose said.
The needs overlap at some other regional agencies:
• The Father Fred Foundation in Traverse City always could use furniture and household items because of quick turnover, said Dave Abeel, development director.
Items such as plates or coffeemakers are "dropped off, and they're gone within a day or two," he said. Some furniture might be saved for a spring garage sale.
• Both Father Fred and Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources could use more children's winter clothing. At KAIR, one rack each is devoted to boys and girls, Manager Peggy Young said. Staff and volunteers are nearly finished sorting through what remains of cold-weather gear.
Boots are in particular need. A few used pairs are available.
"We've had a lot of calls for that," she said. "They've been pretty well-worn."
• KAIR and Benzie Area Christian Neighbors, in Benzonia, each could use items in the food pantry. KAIR's needed reinforcements include jelly, tuna fish, canned fruit and soup.
Benzie's agency needs personal hygiene items, particularly for customers who use state food assistance when grocery shopping, said Gerri Van Antwerp, volunteer coordinator.
Those are less often donated, she said. Long underwear also has been a recent request.