Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to count your blessings and acknowledge what you’re thankful for. This Thanksgiving, I’m so happy to know that an organization I support, Goodwill of Orange County, is doing so much for my community.
Before I became an avid supporter of Goodwill of Orange County, one of my biggest misconceptions about Goodwill is that it was simply a chain of retail stores selling the community’s hand-me-downs. Even when I started my own “wardrobe building experiment” back in 2010, hunting for secondhand designer clothing in Newport Beach, I honestly had no idea of the goings-on behind the scenes.
Ultimately, what I learned was that Goodwill is actually a deeply embedded, community-powered engine for good since 1924. Here are some of the ways Goodwill of Orange County supports our community.
Yes, Goodwill operates 22 retail locations in Orange County that generate revenue to support its programs and services. And, although only about half of what Goodwill of Orange County receives as donations is actually sold in retail stores, the rest of the donations are either sold in auctions, held daily, or recycled.
In 2013 alone, this kept over 53 MILLION pounds of goods from being dumped into landfills.
Donations, retail store operations, auction sales, recycling – do you know who keeps all this running? The answer: Goodwill employees, some of whom are actual program participants – the people in your community who face barriers to employment, who have had job training with Goodwill.
In 2013, 200 local companies hired Goodwill-trained workers for full- and part-time positions. These workers were placed in retail, doc/warehouse, food service, janitorial, cashier, care provider, clerical/data entry and many other jobs.
And these workers, who learned valuable skills through Goodwill training programs, earned for themselves an estimated $20 million that year with the help of 250,000 hours of job coaching, almost 77,000 days of training and 51,000 days of placement services.
Again, these are people – right here in Orange County – that are benefiting from training and job placement programs and, ultimately, the money they earn and the sense of purpose a job provides. Additionally, local companies benefit from skilled workers that Goodwill provides – and the entire local economy benefits from having those jobs filled.
Over 100,000 adults in Orange County live with physical disabilities or chronic illness. The Goodwill Fitness Center was specifically designed for them and is not only a state-of-the-art facility, but a compassionate environment with fully-accessible equipment designed to serve those who need it most. It promotes health and wellness, as well as valuable social interaction.
Goodwill of Orange County also consistently provides various devices to help adults and children with disabilities improve their daily lives and learn ways to effectively communicate with their Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC).
But all this good that’s happening just isn’t possible without people in the community like you. And the ways to support Goodwill of Orange County are numerous.
You can shop. Goodwill has 22 retail locations, including an upscale clothing boutique in Tustin and their electronics center in Santa Ana. Everything from furniture to household goods can be found to furnish a home, and I personally shop for vintage and unique pieces to add to my wardrobe on a regular basis. Plus, you can even shop Goodwill from home at shopgoodwill.com.
You can donate goods. There are a whopping 50 donation centers across Orange County – you can even host your own collection event. So, clean out your cabinets, closets and garage on a regular basis. And, remember, Goodwill makes use of almost everything they receive. In fact, they utilize 92% of all donations, so don’t ever worry about whether or not Goodwill can use what you’re thinking of donating – there’s a 92% chance they can.
You can donate money. Cash is always welcome, and you can donate either in a single payment or set up a monthly amount.