March 6th, 2014
Goodwill Donation Stations
This is a rather silly pet peeve but when I drive to work every morning, I pass one of those barns that are there to collect "goods" for the Goodwill store. Invariably, there are pieces of upholstered furniture there or mattresses or some other things that are beyond use. It's my belief that people have left these items there because they don't want to have to pay to take them to the landfill or don't want to pay the extra amount their refuse collector would charge to haul these unusable things away. I have also driven by this station when people have dropped off upholstered items and it is either pouring down rain or snowing. Sometimes there are also appliances sitting outside the station when it is pouring down rain!
According to the Goodwill website "Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Rev. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of 'a hand up, not a hand out' was born."
Also included on the Goodwill website are guidelines for the acceptance of donations. The first Don't
listed on the website is: Leave items unattended outside a collection center
. Invariably the items I mentioned above are sitting at the station at 6:30 a.m. The hours for dropping off donations appears on a sign at the station and does not include hours after dark and before dusk. The second Don't
listed is: Donate broken or soiled items
. Some of the furniture and particularly mattresses I have seen are beyond soiled. The last item listed under Don't
is: Give items that have been recalled, banned, or do not meet current safety standards
. I must admit, I never really thought about this but it makes sense that recalled items shouldn't be used by anyone given the fact that there is some danger associated with any recalled item.
There is also a portion of the Goodwill website that allows you to calculate the impact of your donation: http://www.goodwill.org/get-involved/donate/donation-acceptance-guidelines/
. I calculated the impact of 5 pairs of shoes and found that the donation of those shoes allowed a jobless person 27 minutes of a job search class; 2 lamps and a chair will give a person 49 minutes of a job search class; and a working computer allows for 5.7 hours of a job search class. What's not included in that calculator is how much time is taken away from an individual's job search class when Goodwill has to pay to have items hauled away that are useless.
Goodwill is not a place to dump unusable items when people don't know what else to do with these items. The cost of disposing of these items and the time it takes volunteers to handle these large items is money lost for the cause. You can feel good about yourself when you donate things that less fortunate people out there can make great use of but I don't know how anyone can feel good about themselves when they use the Goodwill Donation Station as a garbage dump.
Let's obey the rules for the Goodwill Donation Stations and really GIVE to this great cause. If you have any questions about how to get involved, the main web address for Goodwill is: www.goodwill.org
. If you prefer to visit in person, you can find Wheeling's local Goodwill store at 2200 Main Street, #1, and the St. Clairsville location at 50613 Valley Plaza Drive.