By JANET SPEARS
I had no idea…
“I had no idea” is the statement often made when the Goodwill of Mississippi story is told. Most people have no idea what this organization really does and how it affects people in this state.
When people donate and when people shop, Goodwill provides jobs in Goodwill Select Stores and Donation Centers. Goodwill of Mississippi is a nonprofit organization that assists people with disabilities and other barriers to obtain employment. The people hired begin with taking donations, sorting, hanging and pricing clothes or items. They are often promoted within Goodwill or may develop skills to find another job.
One employee began as a hanger and was promoted at Goodwill several times. Then he took advantage of Goodwill’s Employee Tuition Reimbursement Program and went to college. He received his master’s degree and currently is an engineer with a major corporation and serves on the Goodwill Board of Directors. Goodwill has many success stories that begin with the jobs created by people donating and shopping at Goodwill.
Goodwill creates jobs to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people grow to their potential through education, skills training and the power of work. Many people have no idea that they are truly changing lives when they donate and shop at Goodwill of Mississippi Select stores.
Reverend Edgar James Helms, a Methodist minister, started Goodwill in Boston in 1902. He was appalled by the poverty that surrounded him due to people not being able to find work, so he went door to door collecting donated items in the wealthiest districts of Boston.
Helms believed those donations could be sold for profit if refurbished, and that the people who fixed them could be paid a wage. He hired people in need and those considered unemployable, and Goodwill was born. Goodwill fills a need in our workforce for people who are often overlooked for employment. Today, Goodwill Industries operates as a network of independent, community-based organizations all over the world.
Goodwill of Mississippi began in Jackson in 1957 and partnered with Mississippi Rehabilitation Services to provide training and evaluation for people with disabilities and other barriers to obtain employment. This nonprofit organization is directed by a local board, has a local president/CEO and hires local employees. There are presently six Goodwill Select Store locations, two outlet stores, a salvage operation, a wiper production department and seven Donation Centers in the Jackson metro area, as well as a Select Store and Donation Center in Hattiesburg.
Currently, Goodwill of Mississippi is working to grow their workforce development program to enhance training opportunities. They offer a free digital/computer skills training program to the public to assist with digital education needs such as resume writing and online job applications. Goodwill of Mississippi also assists veterans, those who have been incarcerated, people who have gone through rehabilitation and those with educational barriers. CEO David Hollingsworth states that most people want to work, whatever their limitations; they just need to be given a chance. Goodwill of Mississippi offers that chance.
Working to enhance its mission, Goodwill of Mississippi partners with businesses and organizations to offer a hand up to the people who often need it most. YOU are a very important part of the Goodwill mission. When you donate — when you shop — jobs are created and lives are changed. We invite you to learn more about Goodwill of Mississippi by visiting one of our Goodwill locations. Then you will also likely say, “I had no idea.”