“Wow, wow, wow, wow.”
That was all I continually muttered recently during my time spent at the Goodwill Donation Center Grand Opening celebration here in Madison. What is going on behind the scenes at this facility is inspiring in every way, and my biggest takeaway is that Alabama Goodwill is intentional about every move they make and absolutely worthy of receiving your donations.
This new facility is a donation center only, where community members are invited to drive up to the west side door and receive assistance in making donations. Please refer to this list for what can and cannot be donated. (Psst: It costs Goodwill money to dispose of non-acceptable items, so please familiarize yourself with this list prior to swinging by!)
How Your Goodwill Donation Helps Others
Employees at Goodwill are committed to greeting you within 10 seconds of your car pulling up. They take your donations, give you a receipt if desired, and then immediately get right to work sorting the items collected.
How they pour into their employees
David Wells, President and CEO of Alabama Goodwill, says that Goodwill strives to work with those who have employment barriers of some kind, such as single parents, those who may not be able to read or write, those with a disability of some kind, or those who were previously incarcerated.
“We want to give them a steady paycheck and then wrap human service programs around them. We want to give them all the skills and training they need to make it on their own and be successful.”
While team members are working for Alabama Goodwill, they will also be coached and given resources via Goodwill’s programs such as Skills to Succeed, NorthStar Digital Literacy, Learn Free, a youth program, and an adult program.
Wells says that team members come from all over and are often referred to them, are walk-ins to the store looking for a job, or are those who are responding to employment ads.
If you are interested in being a team member with Goodwill and receiving these free services, click here to fill out a career coaching booking form.
What happens after items are donated
After your items are donated to a Goodwill Donation Center, items are immediately sorted into various bins which will then be distributed to Goodwill retail stores across north Alabama. The programs used to teach and empower employees are primarily funded by the money made from retail sales.
This is truly a win/win situation because team members are gaining on-the-job training while also receiving additional training and resources via the aforementioned programs as they work towards future goals.
What happens to items that aren’t purchased at a retail store?
Once items are placed on the shelves for sale at Goodwill retail stores, they will remain in the store for 21 days. This guarantees that items remain rotated and new for shoppers.
Items that aren’t sold after 21 days are given to Goodwill’s Pound Store (similar to an outlet store).
Herd Miller, Vice President of Retail Operations for Alabama Goodwill, says this is another way Goodwill attempts to sell items one more time.
Items that do not sell from The Pound Store are then often sold to salvage centers.
“We try to divert as much from the landfill as we possibly can,” shared Miller.
Wells says that Alabama Goodwill is heavily focused on meeting their goal of selling or recycling 90% of the items donated to their store.
A new Goodwill retail store is coming!
A brand new Goodwill retail store is underway and will open on the corner of Slaughter Road and HWY 72 in the summer of 2021.