From Closet to Going Out: A Goodwill Can Change a Life
If you drop a box of donations at local goodwill, you’ve probably wondered what happens to it after you hand it over. Where are you going? Who will buy it? How much will it sell, and where will the money go?
In fact, you may be surprised to learn how far your donation goes.
First step: landing. After a long day cleaning out the closets, Meredith brings her donation box—slightly used clothes, some home decor and children’s toys—to the nearby Goodwill Center. It’s a quick ride: it’s over in the time it takes to empty two boxes.
While she may not realize it, her donation is already making an impact. Instead of going to a landfill, the items will be purchased by local buyers – reducing waste and offsetting the environmental impact of a new purchase. In Central Florida alone, Goodwill diverts 16 million pounds of waste from landfills each year.
Step two: Behind the scenes. Growing up with learning disabilities, Eric was regularly told what he was Not possible Act. Things that were simple to most people – interviewing for a job or working five days a week – were considered impossible for him.
But when he was referred to Vocational Rehabilitation at Goodwill, he met a care team of counselors who helped him challenge these limitations. He is now a donation therapist, enjoying a flexible workload, accessible accommodations, and the dignity and independence of a meaningful profession.
When Meredith drops her donation, Eric and his team will check for visible damage. Items in good condition will be sorted, priced and sent to local stores. Any items that cannot be accepted (such as fuel, batteries, and some electronic devices) will be safely disposed of or recycled, if possible.
Step three: In the aisles of the store. A freshman college student, “Layla” wants to add some personality to her college room without breaking her budget. When she heads to the local Goodwill to shop for bargains, a colorful pillow donated by Meredith catches her eye. This is just what she was looking for.
As Lily heads to the register, she can’t help but smile.
Fourth Step: After checking out. It was difficult for Greg to find a job. He’s applied for multiple jobs without success… until someone recommends contacting Goodwill’s virtual Job Connection team.
Thanks to Meredith’s donation and Lily’s purchase, Goodwill is able to provide free career counseling to any Central Florida citizen looking for work. For Greg, this means partnering with a trained professional who can help him fine-tune his resume, training in interviewing and networking with employers in his field. That support pays off: After months of searching, he finally gets the “yes” he’s been waiting for.
A box delivery at Goodwill is a quick and convenient stop on Meredith’s daily commute. For Eric, Goodwill is a career that allows him to hone his professional skills and give back to the community. And Leila sees it as an opportunity to find great deals on everything from stylish bedroom decor… to professional clothing for her next internship… to furniture for a new apartment.
But for neighbors like Greg, these donations can mean more: help, support, and a chance for a brighter future. To learn more about making a donation — and how it can make a difference — visit www.goodwillcfl.org.
Arnold Sanchez is Vice President of Retail and Donated Goods at Goodwill Industries in Central Florida.