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.

Three Easy Ways to Donate Your Garage Sale Leftovers to Goodwill

Three Easy Ways to Donate Your Garage Sale Leftovers to Goodwill

By Alana Sesow

Garage sale season is here, which means it’s time to declutter your home and part ways with the things you no longer need. From the cleaning process to the final bargain, hosting a garage sale is hard work. So, when the sale ends, the last thing you want to do is haul the unsold items back inside.

Don’t let your leftover items sit around for another year; donate to Goodwill instead! Goodwill offers several free, convenient donation options for garage sale vendors. Here are three:

1. Donate to Goodwill’s Neighborhood Challenge

If you’re participating in a neighborhood-wide garage sale, ask your association about Goodwill’s Neighborhood Challenge!

The Neighborhood Challenge is an annual event that encourages associations to donate their gently used items to Goodwill after garage sales or cleanup events. Participating associations receive a free donation pickup at a centralized neighborhood location. After the pickup is over, Goodwill weighs the donations. At the end of the summer, the top three associations that collect over 2,000 pounds of donations will receive a cash prize to help fund a community improvement project of their choosing.

To find out if your neighborhood is participating, call 402-742-8456 or email donate@lincolngoodwill.org.

2. Schedule a Free Home Pickup

If you’re planning your sale individually or if your neighborhood is not participating in the Challenge, schedule a free home pickup for your Goodwill donations. Goodwill picks up large donations Monday-Friday within the Lincoln and Waverly city limits. This option is perfect for vendors whose items cannot fit in a regular passenger vehicle.

To schedule now, fill out our online form or call 402-438-2022.

3. Bring Donations to a Thrift Location

Goodwill makes donation drop off easy with five Southeast Nebraska locations: four in Lincoln and one in York. All five locations accept gently used clothing, electronics, home goods and furniture seven days a week during store hours. Visit the Find a Location page for specific hours and addresses.

No matter which donation method you choose, you’ll support Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work. The revenue from our thrift stores helps fund local programs that assist job seekers as they overcome traditional barriers to employment. We also recycle many of the items we cannot sell. In 2021 alone, Goodwill helped over 3,500 Southeast Nebraskans with employment-related services and diverted over 2.3 million pounds of materials from the landfill.

For more information about Goodwill’s donation services, email donate@lincolngoodwill.org or call 402-742-8456.

Goodwill Introduces New Partners to Rising Together™ this Week

Goodwill Introduces New Partners to Rising Together™ this Week

In the last two years, there has been a nationwide increase in labor shortages across a variety of industries. The preexisting skills gap, exacerbated by the pandemic, contributed to these labor shortages, and marginalized communities have experienced the most job insecurity and economic uncertainty. That’s why Goodwill® launched Rising Together™ last year with the goal of connecting more than one million people with sustainable careers by 2025.

Through this initiative, Goodwill partnered with the Anthem Foundation, Coursera, Indeed, Google and Lyft to provide workforce development programs across the nation in skilled trades, healthcare and technology/digital sectors. Job seekers — many of whom come from low-income backgrounds and don’t have access to supports such as skills building, child care, transportation or housing in some cases — have gained employment in new fields, experienced wage increases and enjoyed an overall improvement in the quality of their lives.

Trayvon Lowry is just one example of a multitude of individuals whose lives have improved following completion of Goodwill’s workforce development programs. Trayvon entered Goodwill of North Georgia’s program with a criminal background and graduated earlier this year with a forklift certification, a wage of $20/hour, and a pathway to move out of transitional housing and into his own apartment. He attributes his success to the support he received and the skills he gained at Goodwill.

Still, the economic recovery has not been equitable. More than 1.1 million fewer women are in the labor force than in February 2020, and the unemployment rate for Black women sits above the national average at 5.5 percent as of March 2022. To address the continued need to support individuals such as Trayvon in our communities, Goodwill is expanding the work of Rising Together™.

This week, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. is announcing the addition of new partners to Rising Together™, including Accenture, Bank of America, Comcast Internet Essentials, Lowe’s and USAA. With these new partners, Goodwill and the Rising Together™ coalition will continue to drive an equitable economic recovery — beginning with providing every job seeker with the support they need to access good jobs, including skills training, transportation and internet access. To view Goodwill and its partners’ commitments to an equitable recovery and to hear from the coalition’s executives, visit Goodwill.org/Rising-Together.

Goodwill Makes Campus Move-Out Easy for UNL and Wesleyan Students

Goodwill Makes Campus Move-Out Easy for UNL and Wesleyan Students

By Alana Sesow

The spring semester is almost over, which means campus move-out week is quickly approaching! Before you clean your room, pack up your belongings and turn in your keys, consider donating what you no longer need to Goodwill’s 2022 Campus Move-Out Drive.

During the final two weeks of the school year, drop off your gently used items in the Goodwill donation bins in your residence hall’s lobby. UNL students can donate from May 2nd – May 17th, and Wesleyan students can donate from April 27th to May 9th.

Donating to Goodwill isn’t just convenient; it helps the community, too. By funding a variety of local employment programs, the sales from Goodwill thrift stores help individuals of all backgrounds and abilities overcome barriers, find work and gain financial independence. In 2021 alone, Goodwill served over 3,500 individuals in Southeast Nebraska with employment-related services, such as job skills training, mentorship, mock interviews and more. Within the same year, Goodwill also diverted over 2.3 million pounds from the local landfill.

Goodwill accepts clothing, electronics and other home goods but cannot accept microwaves or TVs. For questions about Goodwill’s 2022 Campus Move-Out Drive, please contact donate@lincolngoodwill.org or call 402-742-8456.

How Shopping at Goodwill Can Help You Do Your Part for the Planet

How Shopping At Goodwill Can Help You Do Your Part for the Planet

By Felicia Czochanski

Municipal solid waste landfills, aka landfills that accept household trash, are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. In 2019, the United States alone accounted for more than 15% of these emissions – which have been proven to have a detrimental impact on warming temperatures across the globe. This Earth Week, it’s important to understand the truth in these statements, which can sometimes start to feel blanketed instead of something that directly influences our everyday lives. It’s also important to re-learn, or for many, learn for the first time how you can incorporate the ‘3 Rs’ reducing, reusing, and recycling, into your life in a way that benefits both you and the environment.

Goodwill’s connection to a more equal, sustainable world has always been concrete. Goodwill is an environmental pioneer and social innovator when it comes to the ‘3 Rs’. When you think about it, that’s exactly what Goodwill’s stores are encouraging – a more sustainable, not to mention affordable, method of shopping that extends the life of usable items while diverting them from landfills. Not only does Goodwill make a direct impact on the community – where the stores provide jobs and job training to those in need, but it also makes a positive impact on the planet.

Shopping at Goodwill is always a win-win for me for these reasons. I know I’ll be able to walk away with some awesome pieces for a fraction of retail prices, and that by buying them second hand, I’m signaling to big fast fashion companies (who I haven’t shopped at now in years) that I’m one less person here for that demand. The importance of shopping smarter and more sustainably was something that really hit home for me this spring, as the truth of our environmental crisis really started to sink in.

For me – it was knowing it was time to revamp my springtime wardrobe, which would need to include at least one more pair of wide-leg jeans. We all know they’re the new style now, and totally different than the skinny jean and even jegging era which we’ve been in for so long. I knew it might be easier for me to go onto a department store website and filter for exactly what I was looking for. I also knew that not only would it cost more, but the carbon footprint I would be creating via emissions from shipping (and likely returning whatever didn’t fit) wouldn’t be worth it. Especially not when I knew I had a good chance of finding what I needed at my local Goodwill.

So, I picked a warm spring-like day to walk about a mile away to my closest Goodwill store and started searching through the racks for what would become one of the most important staples in my closet. It wasn’t long before I made the ultimate score – a pair of high-waisted Mother denim wide leg jeans in my size! What are the chances?! Not only were the jeans exactly what I was looking for, but they were a steal for $14.99. At retail price, they’re listed as $248… plus tax, plus shipping.

There’s always another way to do something. Becoming a more conscious citizen of this beautiful planet we live on is one step that will help you start to see these opportunities as they appear in your life. Whether you choose to eat less meat, shop more sustainably, or take something on that might be a little bit of extra work, but with a big payoff in the long run, know that your decisions make a difference. Shopping second-hand is something that’s not only fun, but also very rewarding. Whether I’m thrifting my new favorite pair of jeans (yay!) or making the decision to thrift a cloud-soft cashmere sweater with a tiny hold on the neck because I’m willing to take the five minutes to get out a needle and thread and repair it, I know that these choices are not only giving me a wardrobe upgrade, but they’re getting me involved in the bigger picture – delaying these items from landfills where we know they’ll contribute to pollution.

If shopping-second hand can help our beautiful Earth get back to health, count me in!

Lincoln Literacy Recaps on Goodwill Partnership, Looks Forward to 2022

Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. is celebrating 90 years of serving our community! We have officially launched our 12 Months of Goodwill campaign, where each month we will feature a story in connection to our mission. Kicking off in January is one of our four community partners, Lincoln Literacy. Goodwill greatly values our partnership with Lincoln Literacy and we hope you enjoy reading about their impact on the Lincoln community.


Lincoln Literacy Recaps on Goodwill Partnership, Looks Forward to 2022

By Anne-Marie Maher

A Spark Lights a Flame

In early adulthood, Clayton Naff led a lively career in journalism, first in Egypt and later in Japan.

“It was a tremendous experience, but I was staggered at the outset by my inability to speak and understand. Even though I’d studied the languages and the culture — I had every possible advantage — and yet I felt really helpless until I learned from others and eventually caught on,” Naff said. 

He didn’t fathom that his experiences adapting to a new language and culture would prepare him for what he describes as the best job of his life. Years later in 2005, Naff applied for the open Director position at Lincoln Literacy, a nonprofit with a mission to strengthen the community through teaching the English language to people of all cultures.

At the time, Lincoln Literacy mostly operated through one-on-one mentorship classes. However, Naff understood the value of the group setting. Working with Woods Charitable Fund, community support and other partners, they embarked on a plan to create the English Language and Literacy Academy (ELLA). 

Since then, the agency has grown to serve thousands of individuals each year. Still, at the heart of the organization lies its volunteers. 

Naff said, “Those volunteers are successful, not because they are accredited educators, but because they really get to know the people who come to their classes and develop authentic relationships with them.”

Refugees and immigrants make up the vast majority of individuals served. Volunteers play a crucial role in not only helping their students learn reading, writing and speaking skills, but also with life skills such as how to ride a bus, read an electric bill and to ask questions. 

Along the way, Lincoln Literacy gained more partners in support of their mission, including Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. in 2012. With a common goal of leading individuals in the community to greater independence, the partnership just made sense. 

“Many of the people that we serve depend on Goodwill to furnish their homes. Goodwill plays a really important part for people to restart their lives in this community,” Naff said. 

Goodwill partners with other nonprofits in Lincoln who help fulfill its mission of connecting people to jobs. It is with this understanding that Goodwill provides funding to those partner agencies. 

“Goodwill gives many of them a first job. From there, there’s no telling how far they will go,” Naff said.

COVID-19 Recovery

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lincoln Literacy operated 22 learning sites across the city, all of which were located in spaces provided by partners. These schools, businesses, community sites and other nonprofits helped Lincoln Literacy offer 70 classes a week.

Like other local agencies, Lincoln Literacy was pushed to discover new avenues of fulfilling their mission during the pandemic. Their first task was to act as a reliable source of information and advice to those they serve. 

The agency staged three drive-through fairs in 2020, giving residents information on how to connect with community resources. Additionally, they gave out over 100 chrome books and paid for internet service so individuals could use community resources online. 

Staff worked diligently to train volunteers on facilitating online classes and went on to create dual language courses in eight different languages. Three weeks after the shutdown in March of 2020, Lincoln Literacy held their first online class. By the end of the spring semester, 68 classes were held each week. 

Psychologically, the rapid response and limited resources took its toll on agencies throughout the community, including Lincoln Literacy. The community recognized that need. 

“Goodwill has been steadfast throughout. Many of the entities that support us have been great,” Naff said. “Additionally, in 2020, when there was so much uncertainty and unemployment was spiking, I thought that our donations on Give to Lincoln Day would crash, and instead, they set a new record.” 

And they set a new record again in 2021. The community’s outpouring of support reinvigorated Naff and the entire Lincoln Literacy staff.

Crossing The Bridge To 2022

Although the pandemic still bears some uncertainty, Lincoln Literacy aspires to continually expand their services while remaining safe and diligent.

In 2020, with the support of Woods Charitable Fund, Lincoln Literacy began the Bridgeway to a Better Life initiative with the aim of helping adults master basic English language and literacy and then go on to gain the essential life and occupational skills they need to lift their families out of poverty and achieve their dreams. Many refugees and immigrants hold valuable skills and Lincoln Literacy wants to help them find ways to put those skills to work in Lincoln. 

The initiative began with a CNA Prep class that showed great success, which encouraged Naff to attempt other avenues for employment credentials. Now, they offer options for paraeducators, credentials for manufacturing jobs, teacher certification and more. This year, they hope to expand that program and offer even more options. 

Additionally, volunteers can now join the organization as a “job mentor.” These mentors help their students write resumes and practice interviews while encouraging them through the job search process.

Naff said, “During that time, if you know there’s someone that cares about you, it can make all the difference.” 

These new programs reinforce Lincoln Literacy’s strong connection and partnership with Goodwill.

“I and everyone else here are really grateful for the partnership with Goodwill and for the support that we’ve gotten…Now more than ever we are working to ensure that people can find a living wage job and plan for their futures and that aligns even more closely with Goodwill’s mission,” Naff said.

Celebrate with Lincoln Literacy as the embark on 50 years serving the community. To learn more, visit their website at https://www.lincolnliteracy.org/.

The Start of the New Year is a Great Time to Get Organized and Help Others Do the Same

THE START OF THE NEW YEAR IS A GREAT TIME TO GET ORGANIZED AND HELP OTHERS DO THE SAME

A New Year means a fresh set of New Year’s goals, as well as a round of resolutions you may have made for what you wish to accomplish in 2022. Not to mention, the start of the year is a fantastic time a declutter and get organized. That’s why it’s no coincidence that January is Get Organized Month, also known as GO Month.

With health at the forefront of everyone’s mind due to the ongoing pandemic, it is appropriate to understand the health benefits of getting organized. This month, why not rethink your own home organization, keeping these benefits in mind?

Here’s how getting organized can improve your health:

1) Relieve Stress: Endless clutter can often be a source of stress in your life. With so many external stressors in the world right now, negative feelings can pile up and create emotional turmoil. Getting organized could help lift a weight off your shoulders. By letting go of what you no longer use, you can gain a clear — less stressful — outlook on your home and your life.

2) Increase Productivity: Disorganization can often make you feel unmotivated and unproductive. Clutter can stunt productivity at home and at work. Clearing out what you no longer need can give you the energy to focus on what’s important. If one of your resolutions involves getting back on track, then decluttering and organizing can be a great place to start.

3) Stay Present: Even if you don’t realize it, clutter in your life can cause distractions. As you move through the new year, take a look each day at the things around your home that you really use. When you allow yourself some time for reflection on what you need — or don’t need — you’ll see what you can remove. Letting go of past clutter can help you stay present and set clear intentions for the future.

Once you’re organized, you’ll be in a perfect position to donate what you no longer need to Goodwill. Those items will then be sold to help fund job training and career services for those who are also looking to improve their lives. Not only will your efforts help you be better organized, less stressed and more productive, but they’ll also help someone else in your community do the same.

A little effort can go a long way. Spending just a few minutes each day to get organized will help make your life healthier and happier! January is the perfect month to make it happen. Wishing you a positive, productive and healthy 2022.

Goodwill Collects 13,823 Pounds of Electronics at Annual Recycling Drive

Goodwill Collects 13,823 Pounds of Electronics at Annual Recycling Drive

LINCOLN — On Saturday, January 8, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. held its fifth annual Electronics Recycling Drive to celebrate National Technology Week. In just four hours, donors dropped off 13,823 pounds of electronics, marking their highest collection in a single drive.

Thanks to Goodwill’s partnership with Dell Reconnect, all electronic donations were either resold, refurbished or responsibly recycled. Working electronics were sold in Goodwill’s thrift stores in Lincoln and York, where the revenue helps fund employment services and programs in Southeast Nebraska. 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. Nonworking electronics were shipped to Dell’s recycling centers and broken down in an environmentally responsible manner. By recycling used technology, Dell keeps reusable materials out of the landfill and decreases the amount of e-waste in the environment.

Lincoln Goodwill accepts electronics of all brands and conditions year-round at all retail locations. Stay up-to-date on upcoming events by following Lincoln Goodwill on social media and signing up for their e-newsletter. To find a donation center near you, visit lincolngoodwill.org.

Goodwill to Host Fifth Annual Electronics Recycling Drive

LINCOLN – On Saturday, January 8, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. will host its fifth annual Electronics Recycling Drive from 10am to 2pm in front of its Vine Street retail store. This free event celebrates National Technology Day while encouraging the public to responsibly recycle the electronics they no longer want.

“Our goal is to make donating a much easier, environmentally friendly alternative to throwing away used electronics,” said Alana Sesow, Goodwill’s Donations Acquisition Specialist. “We’re always happy to keep items out of the landfill.”

Thanks to Goodwill’s recycling partnership with Dell Reconnect, donors can drop off electronics of any brand and in any condition. Working electronics will be sold in Goodwill’s thrift stores, where the revenue funds local programs that help job seekers overcome traditional barriers to employment. Nonworking electronics will be refurbished or responsibly recycled. In 2020 alone, Lincoln Goodwill diverted 61,630 pounds of electronics from the local landfill, and they hope to recycle even more for years to come.

Goodwill accepts most electronics and small appliances but cannot accept microwaves or televisions. Donors who are unable to attend the event can bring their electronics to any Lincoln or York Goodwill location year-round during designated donation hours.

How to Host a Successful Goodwill Donation Drive

From corporate offices to daycares, sports teams to retirement communities, scout troops to churches and everything in between, local organizations are always looking for ways to give back to the community. If your group is passionate about the environment and helping people find jobs, consider hosting a Goodwill donation drive.

Although hosting a drive is simple, the impact of your donations is huge. When a customer purchases your items at any of our thrift stores in Lincoln and York, the money helps fund local programs that assist job seekers as they overcome traditional barriers to employment. Goodwill donation drives also minimize the size of our local landfill by giving your reusable and recyclable items a second life.

To maximize your fun while doing the most for your community, follow these seven steps:

1. Check for Approval

If you aren’t the head of your organization, be sure and ask for permission before planning the drive. Different organizations have different rules, and your group’s leadership might provide good suggestions for drive dates, pickup locations and other logistics.

2. Pick a Date and Location

Goodwill donation drives typically last 1-2 weeks, but we are happy to find a timeline that works best for your organization. Lobbies, common spaces or visible storage areas make good collection locations – especially if there’s high traffic.

3. Contact Goodwill

Call 402-742-8456 or email donate@lincolngoodwill.org to schedule the drive. Our Donations Acquisition Specialist will confirm available dates and help you organize a fun, successful event. Be sure to reach out at least two weeks in advance to book your spot.

4. Create an Incentive

To boost participation and morale, create an incentive for your donors. Do your donors love competition? Split them into teams and reward the group that contributes the most. Need a good laugh? Set a high donation goal, and if the group reaches the goal, have an organization leader dress up in a wacky costume (maybe something purchased at Goodwill. You know your organization best, but if you’re stumped for ideas, we are happy to help you brainstorm.

5. Spread the Word

The best way to ensure a successful drive? Let people know that it’s happening! Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful, but Goodwill can help you take your drive to the next level by providing free marketing materials, such as email announcements, flyers and social media posts. Remember to tell people when the drive is happening, what to donate, and where they can drop off their items.

6. Donate

Once Goodwill drops off the bins, the drive begins! Bring your gently used clothing, electronics and home goods to the donation drive collection site. If you don’t know what to donate, visit our website to see a more comprehensive list of items that we accept. Goodwill will also provide a stack of donation receipts for tax purposes; encourage your donors to save their receipt and use Goodwill’s online guide to estimate the value of their donations.

7. Thank your Donors

After the drive has ended, Goodwill will weigh your total donations and send you a letter or email with the final poundage. Share the good news with your donors and congratulate yourself for making a difference in the community! Not only did you host a successful donation drive, but you also supported local job seekers on their journey toward employment. Click here to learn more about Goodwill’s mission and programs.