"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” - Christopher Reeves
They might not always get the most attention, but there are a ton of absolutely fantastic charitable organizations serving the Calgary area in almost every sector of need. In today’s post, we want to highlight an organization that we’re extremely proud to be partnered with: Goodwill Industries of Alberta. You’ve probably heard of Goodwill - “I should donate a bunch of this to Goodwill” is a phrase you’ve likely either used yourself or heard dozens of times. But do you know how (and just how much) they help our community (and communities throughout Alberta) every day of the year?
Turns out the answer is ‘a lot of different ways’ and ‘a LOT’. Read on (or if you’d rather someone explained it to you using extremely cute box people, check out this video):
What Goodwill Does
At the simplest level, Goodwill’s goal is to “provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to enhance their lives through meaningful employment”. This in itself is a pretty great thing; look at the challenges in the job market, and now imagine navigating those challenges with a disability. Just a few of the services Goodwill provides to these individuals:
- Job training to make individuals competitive in the labour force (think interview training, for example)
- Placements and partnerships with employers
- Direct employment with Goodwill through their stores, head office, and Goodwill Commercial Services, which provides mail sorting, packaging, assembly and light manufacturing for a number of sectors
Goodwill also operates a number of thrift stores that help keep millions of donated items from the landfill every day, and creates reusable cleaning cloths from old cotton products.
How They Do It
The cornerstone of Goodwill’s strategy is donations from Albertans. I’d explain it in my own words, but the above diagram does a way better job. According to Goodwill, one T-Shirt equates to 6 minutes of interview training, and ten T-shirts represents a job interview. A steady pipeline of donations means more funding for programs, meaning more help for those with disabilities and more work at Goodwill’s sorting facilities and thrift stores. And ultimately less waste in our landfills. So basically, if you went a little too far bulking up for winter and your clothes don’t fit anymore, well, you can still turn that into a win-win situation.
As mentioned previously, Goodwill also operates a commercial services segment. Essentially, Commercial Services will perform a number of tasks from mail assembly and sorting to light manufacturing for companies, non-profits, and municipalities looking to outsource these functions. Of course, it’s a win-win for both parties, because participating organizations achieve cost savings, and Goodwill is able to hire individuals to complete the necessary work.
And now the final and perhaps most important part of this post: how can I help out?
How You Can Help
Our free Goodwill pickups make donating easier than ever
The single easiest way to make a difference is through donations of items. There’s sometimes a misconception that Goodwill only takes clothes, but you can actually donate a wide range of items from home decor, to small appliances, to toys and games and books. The obvious caveat applies: Goodwill isn’t a garbage, so make sure items are clean, in working condition, and aren’t on the list of prohibited items (think chemicals, mattresses, dangerous goods, etc.) Goodwill operates 22 donation centres and 12 stores throughout Alberta, so chances are there’s one near you to make things easy.
If you want to make things really easy, we provide Goodwill bags with every YYC Storage pick-up. If you’re storing something with us, all you have to do is fill up the Goodwill bag we bring you with any donations and we’ll take that away when we grab your stuff. And stay tuned for details - we're planning a donation drive in the near future where we come grab your unwanted items, free of charge, no storage order required.
Other great ways to help include volunteering with Goodwill or holding a donation drive in your community.
We’ve basically just scratched the surface with this, but we encourage you to check out the Goodwill website for more info, and keep the organization in mind when you’re looking to cut down on clutter, make room for some new stuff, or looking for somewhere to volunteer your time.