The first full week in May is Goodwill Industries Week. Goodwill started back in 1902 in Boston. A Methodist minister named Edgar J. Helms wanted to help the poor in that city by other means than charity. From the Goodwill page: “Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ was born.” There’s a short video (just over a minute) about Goodwill and their history on YouTube. I encourage you to watch it. After a few seconds of telling who they are now, they talk about their beginnings, with pictures from that time.
Besides the stores, which are the public face of Goodwill, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. They provide workforce connection centers, vocational and employment services, day service programs, skill training in business careers, food service, and light industrial. Some are involved in Meals on Wheels for seniors. They also work with sailors, especially at the Navy’s boot camp on the Great Lakes. They may be involved in quality control services for both local and larger companies.
I love Goodwill. They were a source of clothing for me during a time in my life when I was poor enough that buying a $3.50 jacket there was a major decision. But even now when I am much better off, I love going in, not only for the clothing but also for all the other things. As a crafts’ person, I love perusing the aisles of knick-knacks for inspiration for making gifts. I also admit to the occasional purchase of something frivolous, such as a plush polar bear who called to me as I walked by him, wild socks, and a cup from Crater Lake with my name on it.
A couple of quotes about capital G Goodwill, and more about small g goodwill
I like Goodwill and the thrift stores. I don’t like going into a store and picking from a bunch of cute stuff that’s already been found. One of the best parts is finding it myself.–Kreayshawn
I grew up with not a lot of money and I definitely shopped at Goodwill. But even in my most unfortunate state, I was really blessed compared to a lot of the rest of the world. I had a really great chance to follow my dreams and have them actually come true.–AnnaLynne McCord
I just believe in the goodwill of people, the power of people to do something positive.–Eddie Izzard
Goodwill toward all beings is the true religion; cherish in your hearts boundless goodwill to all that lives.–Gautama Buddha
Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.–Albert Einstein
Seeds of kindness, goodwill, and human understanding, planted in fertile soil, spring up into deathless friendships, big deeds of worth, and a memory that will not soon fade out.–George Matthew Adams
Affirm divine calmness and peace, and send out only thoughts of love and goodwill if you want to live in peace and harmony. Never get angry, for anger poisons your system.–Paramahansa Yogananda
We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind.–Wangari Maathai
Our experience has taught us that with goodwill a negotiated solution can be found for even the most profound problems.–Nelson Mandela
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