August 06, 2022

Several months ago, I wrote about the old beanbag Melissa had saved.  It was filthy and I had removed the beans and washed the cover.  My thought was to take it as a donation to the local Goodwill store.  I have seen some of the “gently abused” items they receive and did not want this to be another one.  The problem came when I tried to get the beans back in the bag, and I lost a third of the foam balls “somewhere”.  At the time Zena had great fun chasing the little balls around the house and yard.  Since it was now in a depleted state, I kept the beanbag rather than donate it.  Melissa finally brought it inside to lay on when she plays on the floor with Zena.  It now has new life as one of Zena’s favorite toys as she pulls the bag around the floor and flips it over her shoulder.  Her favorite antic is to get a running start and jump into the middle of the bag as she chases her pull toy back and forth across the floor.

When I looked online, I found Goodwill Industries International Inc., or Goodwill, is an American nonprofit that provides job training, employment placement services, and community-based programs for people with barriers to employment.  Goodwill also hires veterans and people who lack education, job experience, or face employment challenges.  Goodwill was founded by Reverend Edgar J. Helms of Morgan Methodist Chapel in Boston in 1902.  Helms’ congregation collected used household goods and clothing discarded in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired the unemployed or impoverished to mend and repair them.  The items were redistributed to those in need or were given to the needy people who helped repair them.  In 1915 representatives of a workshop mission in Brooklyn, NY joined with Helms and Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries was born.  The nonprofit is now funded by a network of 3,200+ retail thrift stores in 16 countries, including 165 Goodwill stores in the US and Canada.

I enjoy browsing the local Goodwill stores in the states where I live, although I do wonder about some of the product that reaches the shelves.  Goodwill has donation policies and will only accept items that can be resold.  Goodwill generally does not accept automotive parts, furniture showing signs of damage, large appliances, exercise equipment, hazardous materials, or building materials.  For liability reasons, Goodwill generally does not accept baby cribs or car seats, and sanitary regulations prohibit accepting mattresses.  Recent safety concerns have led to not accepting certain toys due to lead content in paint.  That still leaves the clothing, shoes, books, accessories (handbags, belts), dishes, furniture (good condition), household decorations, small appliances, and consumer electronics.  Depending on local laws, the value of the goods donated can be used as a tax deduction.  Zena is happy the beanbag was not donated.

THOUGHTS:  When I lived in California the back of the Goodwill store was across the street from where I worked.  This was also the door where collections were accepted during business hours.  The store had unwanted donations dropped after hours, usually at night, and there was a pile of “gently abused” items most mornings.  This forced the store to install cameras and motion lights as a deterrent.  While one’s donation is another’s treasure, trash is just trash.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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