Celebrate the Holidays with Goodwill and Gateway Mall

Celebrate the Holidays with Goodwill and Gateway Mall

By Alana Sesow

The holiday season is just around the corner, and Goodwill is once again celebrating with free community events at Gateway Mall. Mark your calendars for one, two, or all four of the following festive days:

Letters to Santa

Day 1: Sunday, December 4, 10:30AM-11:30AM

Day 2: Saturday, December 17, 3:00PM-5:00PM

Want to send a letter to Mr. Claus himself? Just bring yourself and your wishes to this free workshop, and Goodwill will take care of the rest! Choose a card and decorate it with the craft supplies provided. Before you leave, place your letter in the mailbox, and we’ll ensure it gets to the North Pole. This workshop is made possible by Goodwill’s Bits & Pieces: a section in our stores dedicated to all your crafting needs.

Howl-iday Make & Take Workshop

Day 1: Monday, December 5, 5:00PM-7:00PM

Day 2: Monday, December 12, 5:00PM-7:00PM

Create a dog toy using secondhand textiles from Goodwill! All DIY materials will be supplied for you. Representatives from the Capital Humane Society (December 5) and Revolution Rescue (December 12) will be collecting a variety of items for donation, and attendees are encouraged to donate their finished DIY toys if they wish.

All events will be located in the common area behind Scooter’s. No preregistration required. Visit our Facebook page @LincolnGoodwill to learn more.

About Goodwill: For 90 years, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has been strengthening the Lincoln community by providing services for individuals who face barriers to employment and by offering residents an outlet for recycling unused household items and clothing. The sale of donated items in Goodwill’s retail stores remains the largest source of funding for its programs and services. It is with this understanding that Goodwill provides funding to colleague agencies to help with their own programs that align with Goodwill’s mission of willing workers employed and community resources maximized.

Goodwill Encourages Sustainability With LPS Green Schools Recognition Program

Goodwill Encourages Sustainability with LPS Green Schools Recognition Program

By Alia Hurst

Thanks to Goodwill and LPS, students and staff can earn points for their school while improving the environment and the Lincoln community. 

Hosting a Goodwill donation drive is one of several activities offered through LPS’s Green Schools Recognition Program.  This program engages staff, students and families by encouraging them to accomplish activities that decrease their school’s carbon footprint. When schools complete activities, they earn sustainability points, and the school with the most points at the end of the year receives $500 in sustainability project funding. 

So far this school year, Goodwill has partnered with Calvert, Morley, McPhee, Lux, Mickle, and Lincoln Southeast, collecting over 600 pounds of gently used items.  Some schools host a drive as a competition between classes while others host exclusive staff drives—either way scheduling a drive with Goodwill is a simple way to gain 10 sustainability points. 

Not only do donation drives help the planet and your school, they also benefit the community.  The revenue from your Goodwill donations is put back into the community by funding a variety of local employment services, reinforcing our mission, “Willing workers employed, community resources maximized.”

The donation drives hosted through LPS usually last 10-12 days. Goodwill provides the desired number of barrels for placement of donations, the marketing materials to promote the drive, and drops off/picks up/empties the barrels on request.  Goodwill accepts most clothing, electronics and home goods.  Visit our “What to Donate” page for a more detailed list of the items we accept. 

To learn more about LPS drives or the other donation services Goodwill offers, call 402-742-8456 or email donate@lincolngoodwill.org.

Upgrade Your Halloween With Four Spooky Goodwill DIYs

Upgrade Your Halloween With Four Spooky Goodwill DIYs

By Alia Hurst and Alana Sesow

Looking for unique Halloween décor? Visit your nearest Goodwill! Sometimes you can score big with original items, but creators and artists who practice sustainable thrift flips use their talent to showcase a cost-effective option of decorating your home for spooky season. Try the following ideas or create your own, and remember to tag Goodwill in your final photos for a chance to be featured on our social media pages.

So head to Goodwill, grab some craft supplies and let’s get to it!

1. Halloween Gallery Wall.

Jennifer found a variety of art pieces at her local Goodwill and used spooky add-ons to create a Halloween gallery wall. She starts with a vintage painting of a woman and adds plastic snakes and a black frame to transform her into a spooky medusa. Thrift as many art pieces as you want to create a picture-perfect display for your haunted home. The possibilities are endless!

2. Animated Spell Book

Inspired by Hocus Pocus, the Wicked Makers used tissue paper and Mod Podge to turn a gently used Goodwill book into a magic spell book with an animated eye. Grab your sisters for coordinated witches costumes, or simply add this book to your existing Halloween display!

3. Elixir Bottles

Susan, the author and creator of Home Road, used resources from her local thrift store to create frightening elixir bottles. To execute this dead-easy DIY, pick up a few clear jars at your nearest Goodwill and add poisonous labels. Look for spooky stickers in Goodwill’s Bits & Pieces section or print your own at home. Add a few spiders or an eyeball to make them scarier, if you dare!

4. Animatronic Rocking Chair Witch

The Wicked Makers upgraded an already-frightening rocking chair witch using materials from their local Goodwill. With vintage clothing, boots, cloth, accessories, and a few additional craft supplies, you can create a unique porch decoration that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Crafting with secondhand items doesn’t just add uniqueness to your Halloween; it also improves our community and planet. The revenue from Goodwill’s thrift stores in Lincoln and York helps fund a variety of employment services and programs in the Southeast Nebraska community. These services help local job seekers overcome traditional barriers to employment so they can find work, earn a consistent paycheck and achieve greater financial independence. In 2021 alone, Goodwill served over 3,500 job seekers in Southeast Nebraska and diverted over 2.3 million pounds from our local landfill.

For more DIY Halloween ideas, follow Lincoln Goodwill on Pinterest.

Four Easy Ways to Donate to Goodwill

Four Easy Ways to Donate to Goodwill

By Alia Hurst

Whether it’s spring cleaning, end of summer closet clean out or winter wardrobe inventory, every season is donation season. Goodwill provides several options to make the decluttering process easier. Here are four:

1. Schedule a free home pickup.

Donating large furniture items that can’t fit in your car? Schedule a free home pickup! Goodwill will drive to your residence, load your donations for free and provide a donation receipt for tax purposes. Fill out the online form on our website or call 402-438-2022 to get started. 

2. Participate in Goodwill’s Neighborhood Challenge.

This option is perfect for neighborhoods that host annual cleanups or garage sales. Each neighborhood that registers for Goodwill’s Neighborhood Challenge receives a free, centralized pickup after neighborhood-wide garage sales or clean-up events during the months of April-July. After pickup, Goodwill weighs the donations for each neighborhood. At the end of the Challenge, the three associations that collect the greatest weight of donations exceeding 2,000 pounds will win a cash prize to improve their neighborhood. Registration for next year’s Neighborhood Challenge opens in February.

3. Host a Goodwill donation drive.

Whether you’re a business, school, church, or community organization, Goodwill can help you organize a successful drive. Goodwill provides free donation bins, pickups when the bins are full, and marketing materials upon request. 

4. Take your donations to one of our stores.

Donors may bring their items to any of our Lincoln and York locations during open hours. Goodwill accepts most clothing, electronics and home goods in gently used condition or better. View a list of our accepted items here

Retail sales from your gently used donations will help fund local employment programs like our Job Connection Center: a free computer lab in downtown Lincoln that provides one-on-one assistance to job seekers of all backgrounds and abilities. Goodwill also proudly recycles many items that cannot be sold in our stores, such as torn textiles or broken electronics. For more information about how to donate contact donate@lincolngoodwill.org or 402-742-8456. 

Five Ways To Be More Sustainable This School Year

Five Ways To Be More Sustainable This School Year

By Alia Hurst

College is a crucial time to create good habits and begin conducting eco-friendly practices. “Going Green” as a college student might sound overwhelming due to financial limitations or just not knowing where to start. Whether you take big steps or small steps in becoming more aware and eco-friendly, you are inevitably protecting and preserving the planet.

Here are five suggestions to help you get started:

1. Pay Attention to Packaging and Bags

According to the Earth Policy Institute, 100 billion plastic bags and assorted packaging pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—which is almost one bag per person each day. The Environmental Protection Agency adds to that statistic by noting that in 2018, over three million tons of plastic packaging and bags were found in landfills. When running errands or getting groceries for the dorm or apartment, be sure to bring reusable bags or boxes to stray away from copious amounts of plastic waste. 

2. Unplug

College brings a lot of assignments and projects but with those come the technology required to complete them. On average, college students will bring seven tech devices to campus with them for either personal or educational use. It is important to be courteous of unplugging those devices when they’re not being used to preserve energy and power.

3. Use Reusable Bottles and Mugs

Instead of contributing to the packaging consumption issue, look into purchasing a refillable and reusable water bottle to carry around campus. This might not seem like a huge deal, but if a whole student body owned a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, plastic waste and consumption would inevitably decline, drastically.

4. Buy Secondhand

Goodwill’s five Southeast Nebraska locations make sustainable shopping easy for college students. In addition to buying clothes, students can purchase household items, décor, and everyday goods that have been gently used to cut down on the production of new resources and reduce waste. Additionally, when you are buying items secondhand, a good rule of thumb is to donate clothes or items as well. It is important to take inventory of what you need, what you don’t, and donate.

5. Walk

As often as you can, consider walking to events/class/work rather than driving. Walking can drastically decrease emissions while also providing you with exercise. This not only helps your health and the planet, but it also helps your pockets. Saving money in any capacity is crucial in college because the money saved from not buying fuel could go towards books, a meal at the cafeteria, or a coffee at the campus shop (in a reusable mug of course). For more sustainability tips, follow Lincoln Goodwill on social media and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.

Goodwill Announces Tenth Annual Neighborhood Challenge Winners

Goodwill Announces Tenth Annual Neighborhood Challenge Winners

By Alana Sesow

Goodwill celebrated another garage sale season by hosting its 10th annual Neighborhood Challenge. With 12 participating associations, Goodwill collected a total of 19,370 pounds of donations!

Goodwill’s Neighborhood Challenge gives Lincoln associations the opportunity to donate their gently used items after garage sales or clean-up events. The top three associations win a cash prize to help fund a neighborhood-improvement project of their choice.

The Highlands Neighborhood Association took first place with 3,842 pounds, followed closely by the Wilderness Hills Homeowners Association and the Wellington Greens Homes Association with 3,159 and 2,215 pounds, respectively.

Goodwill would like to thank all participating associations for generously supporting their mission: “Willing workers employed and community resources maximized.” For 90 years, Lincoln Goodwill has used the sale of donated goods to help local job seekers overcome obstacles, find work and gain financial independence. By funding a variety of employment services and programs in the community, Goodwill served over 3,500 individuals in Southeast Nebraska in 2021. Goodwill also recycles many donations that cannot be sold, diverting over two million pounds of materials from the local landfill per year.

To host a Goodwill donation drive or learn more about the next Neighborhood Challenge, call 402-742-8456 or email donate@lincolngoodwill.org. Goodwill’s 11th annual Neighborhood Challenge registration will open in February 2023.

Gen Z-Approved Outfits for Back to School, Y2K and Street Style Trends

Gen Z-Approved Outfits for Back to School, Y2K and Street Style Trends

By Felicia Czochanski

Y2K, the futuristic fashion trend from the late 90s and early 2000s is back, and an identifying factor of Gen Z. While it’s rare for millennials to get excited about a style based on low-rise pants and crop tops – after being spoiled for so long with high-waisted denim and leggings, Gen Z has been a champion of the trend that blends pop culture, neon colors, and vintage tech advancements, setting them apart. With the majority of Gen Z still in school or just starting their post-grad lives, it’s important to call out that both Y2K and Street Style looks are going to dominate back-to-school season this year.

 While Y2K might bring up nostalgia for movies like Clueless or Mean Girls, the Street Style trend gives off a more relaxed and almost care-free look. Street Style is rooted in comfort – baggy pants, including sweatpants, oversized graphic t-shirts (bonus points if they’re vintage) and fun, chunky sneakers. It’s a look that you can hangout in all day, no matter what your plans might be. Street Style is an elevated version of the ‘just rolled out of bed and I’m late for class’ look. Yet while the outfits under this trend look easy to pull together, there is some thought that needs to go into them to create that distinction that the look was intentional, versus the first pieces of clothing you pulled from your closet in a rush.

The great thing about both of these styles – in addition to what overlaps between them which are small and almost miniature accessories like purses and hair clips – is that everything was in style years ago already. Both Y2K and Street Style trends have been donated to Goodwill stores over the years, creating a stockpile of awesome vintage Juicy Couture, BCBG, and even Limited Too clothing that you are likely wishing you or your older sibling had the foresight to keep for yourself!

Wondering how you can integrate these trends into your back to school wardrobe? Check out the outfit inspiration sourced from real Goodwill shoppers, below!

1. Y2K Style

Neon checkerboard print is the epitome of Y2K style, especially for Gen Z. This outfit is rocking a lot of great trends – gold jewelry, a layered collared shirt with a fitted tank underneath, and the print that pulls it all together. From the classroom to the after-school clubs, this look is on-trend for back to school season. The second look brings together some of the best of Street Style, but from a Y2K lens! This outfit features the hot pink shorts, which are perfect for a statement piece, paired with a cropped t-shirt look. The way this Goodwill shopper is rocking her style, it fits the Y2K trend, but turn that top into an oversized t-shirt and those shorts into sweatpants, and you’ve got yourself a Y2K Street Style look – two trends in one!

2. Street Style… for Campus

Bringing your favorite Street Style looks to campus isn’t as hard as you might think. Pair an oversized t-shirt with bicycle shorts and sneakers for a comfy casual look that showcases your personality in addition to your mood. In the colder months, depending on where you’re heading off to school, this second look might be perfect for you. I’m obsessed with those comfy fuzzy sandals and the layered look with a flannel and baggy jeans. Back to school can bring enough stress into your life as you start managing your time and assignments, so let your outfit be a source of comfort that can get you through any study session.

Have a Goodwill haul that you’re really proud of? Tag us at @lincoln_goodwill in your next Instagram post or reel for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post or blog!

Goodwill Helps Job Seekers Overcome Employment Barriers Through New RentWise Classes

Goodwill Helps Job Seekers Overcome Employment Barriers Through New RentWise Classes

By Alana Sesow

Since 1932, Goodwill’s programs and services have helped Southeast Nebraskans overcome a variety of employment barriers. Now, Goodwill is expanding on those services with RentWise: a six-module class that helps individuals become good tenants so they can secure stable housing and stable jobs.

Housing is a common obstacle for job seekers today, according to Goodwill Employment Specialist Kate Shotkoski. In fact, she said it’s a number-one priority for many of her clients at Goodwill’s Job Connection Center.

“When an individual doesn’t have to worry about housing, it is so much easier to focus on work,” Shotkoski said. “Their outlook improves so much. It ties in so much with making sure they can stay employed.”

RentWise covers a variety of topics such as property upkeep, conflict resolution, the Landlord Tenant Act and how to spot housing discrimination. After completing Goodwill’s RentWise class, individuals receive certificates that they can present to potential landlords, showing that they have taken active steps to becoming a good tenant. This certificate is especially helpful to those who face traditional housing barriers, including justice-involved individuals, individuals who age out of the foster care system and new Americans.

Goodwill’s RentWise classes are currently offered to individuals served by Fresh Start. As staffing and resources allow, Goodwill hopes to expand the class to other local agencies. To learn more about Goodwill’s mission, programs and services, visit the Programs page and follow Lincoln Goodwill Job Connection on Facebook.

Eight Thrift Tips for Your Next Goodwill Trip

Eight Thrift Tips for Your Next Goodwill Trip

By Alana Sesow

Planning a Goodwill shopping spree? Whether you’re a first-time customer or a Goodwill pro, check out these eight tips for maximizing your thrift trip and finding the best secondhand treasures:

  • Make a plan. Goodwill sells almost any good-condition item you can find in your home, which means our inventory is large and diverse. Before you set foot in our store, know the purpose of your trip and plan accordingly. Decorating your new apartment? Head straight to our furniture and wares sections. Thrifting a formal outfit? Search our racks of dresses, blazers, slacks, shoes, and your favorite-colored tops. Looking for a fun way to pass the time with friends? Explore whatever catches your eye, or take the Goodwill Date Night Challenge.
  • Make time. Thrifting is a marathon, not a sprint. Because every item at Goodwill is unique, searching one rack of clothing or one shelf of home goods might take longer than it would at a retailer with mass-produced items. Expect your Goodwill outing to last longer than a trip to a typical retail store, and remember that patience and focus are key to discovering secondhand treasures.
  • Know the sales. No matter when you visit Goodwill, there’s always something on sale. Every day, Goodwill offers select clothing and wares at 50% off, indicated by the color on the price tag. Additionally, military members, students and seniors receive a 20% discount on certain weekdays, and Goodwill offers special sales and giveaways for our social media followers throughout the year.
  • Shop out of season. When temperatures reach triple digits, don’t be afraid to browse our outerwear section or search for your next pair of winter boots. Out-of-season items are frequently donated, but commonly overlooked when they reach the sales floor. You’ll be ready when the seasons change, and you might even find some brand-name or new-with-tags apparel along the way.
  • Shop outside your section. Remember that sizes vary from brand to brand, and there are a range of styles within both women’s and men’s clothing. Plus, mixing styles, colors and cuts is an easy way to update your wardrobe for the upcoming season. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  • Get creative. You don’t need to have Martha Stewart skills to upcycle something from Goodwill. With a little bit of creativity, you can transform a teapot into a planter, a basket into wall décor, or a pair of jeans into a dog toy. Visit our Pinterest boards for more ideas.
  • Use the one-in, one-out rule. Every time you visit Goodwill, set a goal to donate at least as many items as you buy. Not only does donating reduce household clutter, but it also supports Goodwill’s programs and services that help local job seekers gain the skills they need for employment. Goodwill makes donating easy by accepting items at all Lincoln and York locations during store hours.
  • Visit often. At Goodwill, no two thrift trips are alike. Because our employees place new items on the sales floor every day, even back-to-back visits to the same Goodwill location can be unique. With five Lincoln and York stores open seven days a week, the possibilities are multiplied.

For more Goodwill thrift tips, news and sales, follow us on social media and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.

Lincoln Goodwill Celebrates World Environment Day

Lincoln Goodwill Celebrates World Environment Day

By Payton Fallick

World Environment Day was formed on June 5th, 1974, and after nearly 50 years of celebration, has established itself as the largest platform for environmental public outreach in the world. This year, the celebration will be hosted in Sweden and follow the slogan #OnlyOneEarth, which is a renewal of the slogan utilized for the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in 1972. This year, more than 150 countries are joining the cause as they strive for “collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.”

Why Prioritize the Planet?

To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to cut yearly greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. If the global warming temperature exceeds 1.5 degrees, weather catastrophes will increase, several species will be lost and 99% of coral reefs will be destroyed. As more areas become uninhabitable, people will be forced to relocate, which will put an irreversible strain on both the environment and our communities.

What Can You Do?

Donate your gently used items to Goodwill. On average, 81% of textiles end up in a landfill while only 19% are donated or recycled. When you donate to Goodwill, you give the items you once loved a second life and redirect them from nearly 200 years of sitting in a landfill. In 2021, Lincoln Goodwill diverted more than 2.3 million pounds of items from the local landfill and works to increase their recycling numbers every year.

Choose slow, sustainable fashion. Textiles account for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, and the fashion industry is the second-largest industrial polluter, just behind oil. The fast-fashion industry, in particular, encourages people to buy trendy items, which are often poorly made and quickly replaced. This forces individuals to buy new items at a faster rate as their older items fall apart, creating a cycle of pollution and harm. By shopping at secondhand stores like Goodwill instead, you’ll slow down production from the fast-fashion industry and decrease environmental harm. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run.

Cut waste in all areas of your life. Consume less and strive for sustainability, not only through your clothing choices, but through other avenues, too. Start small by bringing reusable bags when shopping and avoiding Styrofoam at fast-food restaurants. Or, take it to the next level by only purchasing zero-waste items and taking public transportation rather than personal vehicles. Whether you take small steps or larger actions, sustainable practices can be introduced in all facets of our lives. 

When we work together to live more sustainably, we can make a big difference. Find a Goodwill location near you and start living greener today.