Question: When I think about Goodwill I think of the two retail stores we have here in Charlottesville, but it is really a lot more. Can you tell us about the mission behind Goodwill?
Goodwill: Absolutely. Goodwill is all about work. Through the training and employment programs for individuals with disabilities and socioeconomic disadvantages we are helping people right here in the Charlottesville area get back to work. We work with other referral agencies to help assess the interest and abilities of individuals with barriers to employment. We then work to train and help place them in employment in the community. Additionally through our older worker program we are helping those 55 and older, on a low income, receive the training they need to re-enter the workforce. All of these programs are possible because of the generous support of our donors as well as the customers we serve in our retail stores.
Question: So donations are critical to your service to the community?
Goodwill’s Donated Goods operations are really the backbone that allows us to serve the community. Last year retail sales provided over 62% of the organizations total revenue. Donors drop off their gently used clothing, household goods, computers, and more and from this Goodwill stores are stocked with the gently used items that become a neighbor’s new treasure.
Question: I guess this is one of the best forms of recycling. We talk about greening efforts, but this is really a simple form of recycling.
Goodwill: Goodwill has always prided itself on our environmental initiatives. In addition to reselling items that people no longer need, our organization also kept over 10 million pounds of material out of landfills last year. Any items that can’t be sold in stores we sell as salvage, or recycle. For example in October of 2008 we began recycling computers through the Dell RECONNECT partnership. The public can donate their computers and related hardware, any brand – any condition, to Goodwill and we will recycle through Dell, keeping all the material out of landfills, and helping to fund our mission.
Question: If someone is watching right now wondering how to help Goodwill what would you tell them.
Goodwill: The easiest and best way to support Goodwill is through the generous donation of those gently used items you no longer need. You can donate at the store on 29 near Rio Road, or at the store on Pantops. These donations will help people and families in our community achieve a better life through work and independence. So as you spring clean, think of Goodwill and those in our community who need the chance and training to get back to work.