Giving is an integral part of the ritual of the holiday season and the teams at each Goodwill store location in Orange County built upon this thought to do something special for the communities we serve. Our December Service Projects have grown in enthusiasm and scope. In the past we’ve taken on projects for an animal shelter, an elder care facility or family support groups. The teams always come up with ingenious ways to raise money for local providers and causes, including sales of special snacks or holiday gift wrapping services.
Our team at the Fullerton store decided to partner with We’ve Got Your Back program from the Giving Children Hope Foundation. This program serves over 3,000 kids with a backpack full of nutritious food every single weekend. The team was motivated to help as many people as possible so they raised money by selling cookies, muffins, cupcakes, doughnuts, nachos, soda and coffee. Fullerton store manager, Joel Echegaray remarks, “In the end it was more than about how much money we raised, but about the experience we gained together, through the desire of giving and helping people in need without any thought of recompense.”
The Huntington Beach team collected changes of pants to children with disabilities through a local school. Mike Griffin, The Huntington Beach store manager on Adams Street noted that Goodwill has helped him personally see the benefits of service and community. “Thanks to the culture of kindness, values and our incredible mission, Goodwill cultivates amongst its workforce, I have been given a servant’s heart. When I was 7 yrs old my father went to prison so my mother took me to church. While there, they were singing songs of worship. I remember wanting to sing and be heard, but I didn’t know the words and was embarrassed, hence my eyes welled up and mouth stayed closed. Thanks to Goodwill, community service projects, I finally have discovered my way to sing, be heard and make a difference in not only the community but in the way I get to express my gratitude and sense of purpose.”
The side-by-side Saddleback and Keepers stores in Lake Forest chose to help the South County Outreach Food Drive. The team decided to help in a way that would provide meals for Christmas. According to store manager, Arkimberly Cason, “Many of our staff had been helped by agencies such as the South County Outreach during times of need in their lives so this was especially meaningful. Employees expressed that like so many, they have also gone through times of unemployment and not always knowing if they would receive a hot meal during the holidays. Everyone wanted to make sure that we are helping families during the holiday season and the successful food drive certainly helped make the holidays brighter and we formed lasting bonds as a team.
Caring, helpful and passionate people are the backbone of our organization and the December Service Project is just one more way that employees at Goodwill extend the spirit of our mission in the communities where we work and live.