By Kim Praniewicz
While the economic impact of the pandemic may still be felt here, the pace of recovery is accelerating: theme parks are resuming, hotels are reaching capacity, and restaurants are serving more diners. As this happens, there is an opportunity to reconnect thousands of Floridians with new jobs and opportunities.
What you might not know is that there is a surprisingly easy way to make it happen: the next time you’re revamping or redecorating the house, take a trip to Goodwill.
Consider these reasons that make giving a win-win:
- Goodwill welcomes more than clothes. While we’ll happily pick up those lightly worn coats, sweaters or shoes, keep rearranging yourself in the bedroom closet. Our donation centers also accept sporting goods, tools, gardening equipment (gasoline withdrawn), books, toys, DVDs, dishes, luggage, decorations and a wide range of furniture.
- Goodwill accepts certain broken electronic devices. If your computer, laptop or cell phone breaks, please take it to a Goodwill donation center. Our team will check if we are able to refurbish it. Otherwise, we will recycle the batteries safely.
- Donating is quick and convenient. If you’re a first-time donor, you might consider standing in line or lugging heavy boxes. But all you have to do is make your way to our drop-off area, and our team will bring a cart right into your car, giving you a full trunk of items in just a few minutes.
- It’s good for the environment. Donating your little-used goods gives them new life, prevents them from being landfilled and effectively cuts their carbon footprint in half. On top of that, Goodwill is doing its part to reduce our own environmental impact by recycling cardboard, plastic and other items.
- Your donation is tax deductible – and digital. At the time of deposit, you will be asked if you would like a follow-up ticket that includes instructions for setting up an account online, which means there is no longer a need to accumulate paper receipts. When it’s time to make your year-end tax deduction, simply log into our Donor Portal and view your full donation history.
While donating clothes and housewares to your local Goodwill may not seem like much, the reality is that it translates into more resources and jobs for neighbors in need. Equally important is purchasing from our stores, as ninety cents of every dollar in sales will go directly to our nonprofit services – and right now, that can do more good than ever.
Consider all the ways the funding goes back to the community: Through the COMPASS project, store revenues are used to provide one-on-one tutoring and life skills education to high school students who are at risk of dropping out. In our vocational rehabilitation program, people facing barriers to employment can gain vocational training and on-the-job experience. Meanwhile, our virtual Job Connection Center offers services ranging from practice interviews to certification programs, connecting thousands of downtown Floridians with the job each year.
The bottom line? While central Florida faces many workforce challenges, your donations are part of the solution. Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors, Goodwill has been able to serve this community for over 60 years – and we look forward to continuing our mission for many years to come.
Kim Praniewicz is vice president of marketing and mission advancement for Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.