Retracing the Journey of Goodwill Donations: An Inside Look


Is it just me, or does it seem like we get a lot of information about how bad things are – but not enough information about what we can do to actually help?

Whether it’s TV, magazines or news on the Internet, headlines about poverty and struggle abound. And even communities like our own Orange County are not immune to some bad news now and then.

However, it might surprise a lot of people to know that the simple act of donating their unwanted household items can be a significant help to their local community. Because, when you donate to Goodwill of Orange County, you’re feeding an engine that creates opportunity.

I think it’s a safe bet that most people reading this have a surplus of “stuff” in their lives. And most of that “stuff” is probably not being used on a regular basis. If you really look around your home, how much of what you own are you actually using, and how much of it is really valuable to you?

What about gently-worn clothing you’re not wearing anymore? Or old linens, toys and other household goods. Closets and cabinets are treasure troves for items to donate because Goodwill of Orange County can resell, reuse or recycle almost 100% of what is donated to them. In fact, you can see for yourself how Goodwill puts donations to work when you attend one of their Real Goodwill Tours.

But, again, the concept of simply donating to help your community seems almost oversimplified. So, to prove how it really does help, I decided to retrace the journey of an average donation to Goodwill of Orange County.




Goodwill employees will quickly and carefully take everything off your hands. And, once you make your donation of unwanted household wares and clothing, you get a handy receipt for your taxes. Next is what happens to your unwanted stuff …

First, everything is brought into their massive warehouse where employees sort the items.






Once items are sorted, they are tagged using Goodwill of Orange County’s color tag system.


Once everything is tagged, it’s ready to be sold in the store.

Pro-tip: the generous people of Orange County donate some amazing things. So, if you haven’t had a chance to do some shopping for yourself, track down your nearest location and see what you can find.


But, the fact that Goodwill of Orange County can make use of nearly 100% of everything donated is just half the story. In addition, 92 cents of every dollar generated goes to help program participants facing barriers to employment find and keep jobs.

Now you see how important it is to keep that donation engine humming! So, clean out your closets, cabinets and garages, Orange County! Because when you donate to and shop with Goodwill of Orange County, you’re truly helping your community.

Recycling is just half the story! Goodwill of Orange County needs your donations to help people in your community facing barriers to employment. Check in closets, under the bed and in the garage for anything and everything you can donate. Bag it all up and bring to one of 50 convenient donation locations across Orange County. Goodwill will take anything that can be resold or recycled – every little bit helps create jobs and purpose for real people in your community. 

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