Where the Goodwill Goes Tour

Friends, I was incredibly lucky to be invited on a tour to the Goodwill NY/NJ headquarters in Astoria last week and it was profound! This tour truly made me love Goodwill even MORE!

I learned so many things about the amazing work of Goodwill and what WE do to help their very worthy mission.

Lesson 1-Nothing Goes to Waste! DONATE! DONATE! DONATE!

I was really under the impression that there are certain things that should NOT be donated. I would never take anything damaged to donate to Goodwill thinking I would  be giving them rubbish that would not help them…but friends this is NOT TRUE!!

image courtesy of goodwill

(L-R: Jose, Sonya, Martha, ME, Faith)

Above is a picture of us in front of aisles and aisles of baled clothing. Most of the items sold in stores are sorted at the store, but items deemed to be unsellable are sent to the sorting center then baled. These bales of clothing are then sold by the pound to manufacturers who recycle the clothing into things like insulation and carpet.

Not only do they recycle linens, clothing, and other fabric materials but Goodwill also recycles your unsellable shoes! So say you lost that flip flop while on vacation do not hesitate to donate it’s lonely pairing to Goodwill!

Shoes are also sold by the pound to manufacturerS who repurpose the rubber and leather into new products! And it doesn’t end there…what about that monitor, keyboard, mouse, remote, game console or camera you’re not using?!

Goodwill tests everything that can be plugged in and what is not usable/sellable is also sold to companies to recycle. Goodwill is even able to take some parts that have been donated and use them in their offices.

So the lesson is DONATE DONATE DONATE! Nothing goes to waste at Goodwill. That shirt with a wine stain that just won’t come out, the outdated mouse, the non working monitor, the solo shoe, your old TV…DONATE!

Lesson 2-Goodwill is AWESOME

Ok so that is not really a lesson, I already knew Goodwill is awesome but the amount of opportunity they provide to people really touched my heart while on my tour.

Above friends is Robert. Robert works in Goodwill’s Industrial Contracts Division. When 21 years ago he was put in a wheelchair he felt there was no where for him to go. He worked as a mechanic before the wheelchair but the places he used to work considered him a liability. He came to Goodwill as a client receiving training and services and then transitioned into an employee. Through Goodwill he’s been able to earn a living and support his family.

Goodwill Industrial Contracts are just one way they are able to provide jobs to people in need. The recycling and sorting that I mentioned earlier is another way Goodwill provides jobs, and there is also GoodTemps-which places people in need 75% of them persons with disabilities, both in long and short term employment.

Lesson 3-Goodwill Makes Bright Futures

So yes Goodwill works a lot with adults in need and they give people like Robert a bright future and a way to provide for themselves, but Goodwill also is dedicated to making future generations brighter.

With after school programs, Good Guides mentoring program, ESL classes and a summer camp. Goodwill reaches out to the youth to better their future.

Friends, I hope this inspires you to shop and donate at your local Goodwill.  Something to keep in mind is that 93 cents of every $1 goes to all the above wonderfulness. So every dollar you spend and every item you donate at Goodwill really goes to their tremendous efforts.

The lovely folks at Goodwill really stressed to us that February is their lowest donation month, so friends they are in need of THINGS! On this long President’s Day weekend how about sorting some goodies for Goodwill!

Warm warm thank you to Jose Medellin, Director of Communications at Goodwill Industries NY/NJ, Martha Gotwals, Customer and Donor Relations Manager and Cait for organizing this trip. I really wish every person could take this little tour and see all the amazing work you do.

Keep track of all sales and general happenings of Goodwill NY/NJ on twitter HERE, facebook HERE and on their blog HERE.




  1. Rocquelle Porch February 20, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    So awesome!! I knew that Goodwill recycled computer parts, but I had no idea what they did with non-sellable clothing…very cool!! Thanks for sharing Jamillah!
    Rocquelle Porch recently posted..Lady DenimMy Profile

  2. jesse.anne.o February 20, 2012 / 7:36 pm

    I also had no idea you could (and should) donate solo shoes and textiles of varying qualities. That is all very good to know.

    I am also in NYC (Brooklyn, Crown Heights and work in midtown west) and didn’t initially realize you were in the area, too?

    Thanks for your comment – I struggle with all the things you mention also. Sometimes I’m frustrated and other times I’m hopeful. I agree with you point about not throwing all companies into the same category if you don’t know the specifics. I thought about it and I realized that even people I know who run companies who manufacture locally don’t always advertise it (although I think they’re insane for not advertizing it) so it’s entirely possible some companies are better than I’d think and are just humble or not PR-savvy.
    jesse.anne.o recently posted..One Room School MarmMy Profile

      • Jamillah February 22, 2012 / 9:04 am

        Yes, I agree. I’ve met designers who do great things and don’t bother mentioning them on their “about” pages or focusing on these things on their websites. So I truly don’t try to assume anything negative on other ethical brands who fail to leave out an answer to a question I have.

        And yay! I’m glad you’re in NY. The wonderful folks at Goodwill have other things planned and I would love to invite you. I work at Rockefeller and live in downtown east so let’s do drinks or lunch or thrifting. Please :).

  3. Your Norwegian Pumpkin Anika February 21, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Darling, I love you love you love you. Thank you so much for being exactely who you are and for using your voice in this way. I am so glad you are my friend. Hugs to you and Mike and your fab sofa.
    Your Norwegian Pumpkin Anika recently posted..Coming out of the mist.My Profile

    • Jamillah February 22, 2012 / 9:05 am

      😛 I love you love you love you too, my Norwegian Pumpkin. Mike and my orange couch are waiting for your return.

  4. Bere Parra February 21, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    What a remarkable post Jami! Here in Mexico we don’t have something as Goodwill (there are many non-profit organizations and charities, but none of them comes even close to Goodwill’s active system and programs), but many of us have the habit of donating things. Mum and I have given away clothes and furniture, sometimes even old – yet still fully functional – home appliances. It’s incredible how a simple act such as giving can change so many lives, not only that of the person we are giving it to, but many others, because it’s a chain. I love how you approached this story, focusing on the relevance of giving in our lives. The part of Robert’s story was my favorite. Even in the toughest of circumstances, generosity will always show you the way to a better life. Thanks so much for this wonderful post! I’m passing it on.
    Bere Parra recently posted..It’s a party and you’re invited! – The Grand Opening of The Gallery at The Chapel of Jimmy Ray (pt. 1)My Profile

    • Jamillah February 22, 2012 / 8:58 am

      Oh sweet Bere. I believe it, giving is such a chain reaction and it’s totally addictive in the best kind of way. Robert’s story is my favorite part of this post as well. I did not even tell the half of it because it got a little personal, but I was in tears listening to him I found him such an inspiration…he probably won’t even remember me but I will completely never forget him.

  5. Courtney February 21, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    I <3 my local Goodwill.

    "Lesson 1-Nothing Goes to Waste! DONATE! DONATE! DONATE!"
    I draw the line at old undies and socks. Everything else I donate!

    People should definitely donate old stained clothing. At my old Goodwill, they sold old clothes cut into squares and made into rags. They are not my favorites to clean with, but they do the job!
    Courtney recently posted..Bad BeautyMy Profile

    • Jamillah February 25, 2012 / 1:41 pm

      You should just call them :). See if the headquarters of your Goodwill is interested!

  6. Nicole Schuman February 22, 2012 / 10:18 pm

    This is very nice. Promoting goodwill such a very good doing. Your not only helping others but also helping yourself being a better person. Good job!
    Nicole Schuman recently posted..this websiteMy Profile

  7. Christine February 22, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    This post was the perfect kick to get me to finally load up that pile of clothing I’ve been *meaning* to cart to the Goodwill for ages. I am so glad to know they can make most anything useful!

    • Jamillah February 25, 2012 / 1:40 pm

      Yay! That makes me really happy! Don’t forget to get a receipt! It’s also tax deductible :).

  8. Heather Fonseca February 22, 2012 / 11:54 pm

    I love the goodwill for purely selfish reason – I find great clothes there! Not all the time but every so often I get a great piece.
    Heather Fonseca recently posted..How I lost 20 Pounds in 2011My Profile

  9. Fashnlvr February 23, 2012 / 10:05 pm

    Wow! What a great post! I had no idea that Goodwill did all these things! I will have to donate all the things I am not selling on my ‘for sale’ page and whatever else I’m no longer using. I had no idea they took unusable stuff and made it usable again. Totally did NOT know most of this about Goodwill. Thank you so much for sharing. They picked the right blogger to take the tour! Much love to you honey!!
    Fashnlvr recently posted..Gardening: Know What You SowMy Profile

    • Jamillah February 25, 2012 / 1:41 pm

      WONDERFUL! Thanks so much Yvonne, much love to you too.

  10. FASHION TALES February 24, 2012 / 2:08 am

    I love this post and that you highlighted the incredible efforts that Goodwill does. It’s such a huge company and they do so much more than the average person knows. I appreciate that they take even damaged goods, I recently learnt that eBay has a green programme where they allow you to trade your old/even broken goods in.
    One of my best friends works at Goodwill Industries in California and if it weren’t for her introducing me to the company I would be out of the loop. Thanks Jamillah for sharing even more about Goodwill NY/NJ and in general. I’ve found so many great things at a Goodwill! :)

    -Big hugs to you dear.

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