by Carole Verona
Although the annual ritual called spring cleaning officially begins on Thursday, March 20, at 12:57 p.m., it looks as if some people have already gotten a head start.
During a recent visit to Goodwill’s newest donation center, which just opened at 7061 Lincoln Drive in West Mt. Airy, I saw boxes and boxes stuffed with gently used clothing, accessories, toys and books.
Five part-time employees currently work at the donation center; four of them are from the local community. On the day I was there, newly hired Goodwill employees Debbie Washington, of Mt. Airy, and Stacey Wilder, of Mayfair, were busy examining and sorting brightly colored shirts and blouses. Mark Boyd Jr., of Manayunk, who manages Goodwill’s Bustleton Avenue Store and Donation Center in the Northeast, was called in to help set up the Mt. Airy location. He said that Crystal Williams, of East Falls, the center’s new manager, will be starting soon.
Boyd said that, right now, a Goodwill truck comes to the Mt. Airy location once a week to pick up and transport donated items to the retail stores. He anticipates that the truck will arrive more frequently, maybe three to five times a week, as word gets out that the donation center is open.
When you stop by to drop off your stuff, you’ll get back much more than a receipt for a tax deduction. You’ll come away knowing that your donation does much more.
In its 2012 Report to the Community, Goodwill listed $22,141,192 in revenues from sales in its 20 retail stores. The organization provided training and career services for 969 Philadelphia and South Jersey residents with disabilities and disadvantages; 227 of those individuals were placed in jobs.
Michael Shaw, chief operating officer of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, headquartered in Maple Shade, New Jersey, said that Goodwill’s 1,200 square feet of donation space in Mt. Airy is the site of a former gas station.
Goodwill chose Mt. Airy because “it is made up of a diverse population with a middle- to upper-middle class income level and is underserved in terms of places to donate. The fact that it is an incredibly green community also makes it a nice fit for Goodwill. We have been in the recycling business for 64 years, long before the term ‘going green’ even came into existence,” Shaw said. “We are looking forward to becoming entrenched in the Mt. Airy community and a part of the residents’ regular routine when it comes to cleaning out and donating to charity.”
True to its motto of “recycle, reuse, renew,” last year Goodwill recycled more than 75 million pounds of textiles and diverted 5.2 million pounds of e-waste from America’s landfills. Goodwill also collects electronics, including computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, TVs and other peripheral equipment. Through a partnership with Recycle Your Empties, Goodwill helps prevent printer cartridges from becoming e-waste. The organization also accepts donations of home medical equipment: electronic and non-electric wheelchairs, hospital beds, commodes, walkers, crutches and more.
Goodwill is the only charity in the region to use the latest technology to help donors keep track of their contributions. Shaw explained, “You simply walk in, input your contact information and the number of bags/boxes donated into our computerized kiosk and print out a receipt for tax purposes. Once you have entered information into this kiosk, you will be able to retrieve it by using your phone number the next time you donate. By recording your donation in the kiosk, you can retrieve a report detailing your donation history for the year using I-donate, web-based technology hosted at www.goodwillnj.org.
“We depend on the generosity of donors to fulfill our charitable mission. We prefer to be self-funded so we are self-reliant and 100% sustainable. The harsh winter we have experienced this year has put our inventory at dangerously low levels, so we encourage residents to clean out and donate soon. We appreciate every bit of support that we get.”
Goodwill’s West Mount Airy Donation Center is open on Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If a donor has large items or furniture, Goodwill also does pick-ups on a case-by-case basis.
For more information, call 1-800 GOODWILL or visit www.goodwillnj.org.