The current recession has seen a decline in charitable donations, new research shows.
Oxfam announced today donations to its shops are down by 12 per cent already this year, and claim a total of 1.2 million fewer donations could be made in 2009.
At present, the charity claims more than 80 per cent of its total income from its shops comes from donations from the public of clothes, books, music, homewares and other goods.
Oxfam suggests the fall in donations demonstrates wider trends resulting from the credit crunch with families tightening their belts and buying less, meaning they replace less and therefore have less to donate to charity shops.
With the housing market in decline also, fewer people are moving house, which has seen a "huge" drop in donations of household items. Homewares such as crockery, china, glass and curtains are down by seven per cent in 2009, while donations of furniture have dropped by 13 per cent, Oxfam reports.
Donations of clothing to the charity would also have been down, the charity states, if it not been for an extra 900,000 donations coming in as a result of the first year of the Oxfam and Marks & Spencer Clothes Exchange.
Oxfam's director of trading, David McCullough, said: "The £20 million profit made by our shops last year would be enough to fund all of Oxfam's work in DR Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia for a year.
"But we can't sell fresh air, and they of course rely on the generosity of the public for their stock. Without continued donations of everything from clothing to cookware, Oxfam shops could not continue to play such a key role in communities across the UK."
Mr McCullough urged people to continue to donate their unwanted items, no matter how small.
"Whether it's a pair of trousers or a pair of curtains, we can use it to make money and help poor people all over the world," he said.
"The effects of the credit crunch are being felt all over the world whether its on the high street in the UK or rising food prices across Africa, few are left untouched. To continue helping as many people as we can, we desperately need to continue transforming donations of unwanted clothes, books and homewares into lifesaving funds for our work."