Goodwill Community Partner Feature: Lincoln Literacy

Goodwill Community Partner Feature: Lincoln Literacy

By Alana Sesow

At Goodwill, we believe in the power of community.

Not only does Goodwill create and fund life-changing employment services, like those offered for free at our Job Connection Center, but we also provide funding to peer agencies that help local job seekers overcome traditional barriers to employment. Through our community partnerships, we can better fulfill our mission: “willing workers employed and community resources maximized.”

Knowing English is a key qualification for many jobs in Southeast Nebraska. That’s why Goodwill partners with Lincoln Literacy.

Lincoln Literacy’s mission is “to strengthen our community by teaching the English language and a variety of literacy skills to people of all cultures.” The agency teaches basic, intermediate and advanced English classes to immigrants, refugees and anyone else in the community looking to improve their skills. Additionally, Lincoln Literacy provides GED prep classes, occupational skills training and case management for individuals looking to reenter the workforce.

“When I think about the impact of Goodwill’s funding with Lincoln Literacy, not only are you improving people’s literacy so they can talk to their teacher, so they can talk to law enforcement, so they can talk to their landlord,” said Bryan Seck, Executive Director of Lincoln Literacy. “You’re also impacting people’s future [career] trajectory.” To learn more, watch our interview with Bryan Seck or visit lincolnliteracy.org.

Goodwill to Host 11th Annual Neighborhood Challenge

Goodwill to Host 11th Annual Neighborhood Challenge

By Alia Hurst

Hosting a garage sale is a great way to declutter your home while earning extra cash. But after the sale ends, what do you do with the leftover, unsold items?

Register your neighborhood association for Goodwill’s 11th Annual Neighborhood Challenge and receive a free, centralized donation pickup after spring and summer neighborhood-wide garage sales. After the pickup, Goodwill will weigh the donations. At the end of the summer, the three Lincoln neighborhoods that collect the greatest weight of donations exceeding 2,000 pounds will win a cash prize to improve their neighborhood. 

To sign up, email donate@lincolngoodwill.org or call (402) 742-8456 with a preferred date, time and centralized pickup location. All Neighborhood Challenge pickups must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance, but we encourage associations to sign up as early as possible as spots fill up quickly. For more information about the Neighborhood Challenge or other ways to donate to Goodwill, email donate@lincolngoodwill.org or call (402) 742-8456.

4 Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Goodwill

4 Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Goodwill

By Alia Hurst

While Valentine’s Day traditionally celebrates romance, Galentine’s Day (February 13th) honors friendship in all forms. Who else can you call for last-minute outfit input, breakup advice, or to talk about something your partner just doesn’t understand? Celebrate the people who are always there for you with these four ideas from Goodwill: 

1. Host a Galentine’s Brunch

Share a meal with your closest friends and personalize the celebration with thrifted DIYs. For example, Michelle Howell, the creative behind the Vintage Home blog, used a thrifted sweater to create heart placemats. She also thrifted white napkins, folded them in the shape of an envelope and added a wooden heart to it to make it look like a love letter. Small DIY projects add uniqueness to the celebration and could even be a group project before the party itself. If you host, consider thrifting some charming dishware to spice up your party! 

2. Choose a Thrift Challenge

If you aren’t the party-hosting-type, take your friends on a thrifting trip to the nearest Goodwill. Quality time spent looking for hidden gems can be fulfilling on its own. If you want an extra challenge, pick out the classiest or craziest outfits for your besties and go out for a night on the town. 

3. Send a Long-Distance Care Package

Remind your out-of-town friends that the distance between doesn’t distract from the power of their friendship. Thrift a personalized care package from Goodwill! The perfect shirt, pair of earrings, or new household decorations are ideal as they show originality and individualism. 

4. Take Time for Yourself

While Galentine’s Day is about celebrating significant friendships, it is also about celebrating yourself. Putting yourself first is crucial and maintaining a clear mind and a clear space is the first step. Turn on your favorite music, journal to clear your mind, and start a donation box to clear your space. This will help you begin the process of empowering and loving yourself on this important day. 

For more Valentine’s and Galentine’s ideas, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.

Break Up with your Ex’s Stuff and Donate to Goodwill

Break Up with your Ex’s Stuff and Donate to Goodwill

By Alana Sesow

Heartbroken on Valentine’s Day? Satisfy your need for closure (or revenge) by donating your ex’s stuff to Goodwill!

Break up with all of the items that remind you of your ex, from date night outfits to anniversary gifts and everything in between that fits Goodwill’s donation guidelines.* Then, drop the items off at any Goodwill location in Lincoln and York, and we’ll turn your heartbreak into jobs.

Donating to Goodwill is the sweetest revenge. Not only will you get rid of your ex’s stuff once and for all, but you’ll also support job seekers on their journey toward employment. The thrift store revenue from your Goodwill donations helps fund a variety of local employment programs and services, such as our Job Connection Center on 1731 O Street. Thanks to our amazing donors, Goodwill is also able to provide funding to four community partner agencies that align with our mission, “willing workers employed and community resources maximized.”

*All items donated to Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. must be the sole property of the donor. Goodwill is not liable for items donated that do not belong to the individual donating.

Goodwill Celebrates National Technology Day with Sixth Annual Electronics Drive

Goodwill Celebrates National Technology Day with Sixth Annual Electronics Drive

By Alia Hurst

On Saturday, January 7th, 2023, Lincoln Goodwill hosted their sixth annual Electronics Drive at the Vine Street location where over 30 donors recycled 1,023 pounds of donations. From 10AM-2PM, Goodwill encouraged community members to come and donate electronic devices they no longer use. These donations will be resold at any Lincoln or York location or sent to Dell Reconnect to be responsibly refurbished or recycled.

Recycling electronics is a simple activity that makes a huge environmental impact. Globally, humans generate around 40 million tons of electronics every year, which is like throwing away 800 laptops every second. Recycling electronics reduces pollution that would be generated while manufacturing a new product and limits the need to extract valuable and limited resources. Electronic recycling also reduces the energy used in new product manufacturing. In 2021, only 12.5% of e-waste was recycled. Thankfully, Goodwill and Dell Reconnect offer year-round solutions to help minimize e-waste in your community.

Even though the electronics drive has concluded, community members can donate electronic devices in any condition, all year round. Goodwill accepts most devices at any of our stores’ donation drop off locations. We cannot accept televisions or microwaves. To learn more about your environmental impact and more sustainability tips during this New Year, subscribe to Goodwill’s newsletter or follow Goodwill on social media.

How to Keep your New Year’s Resolutions on #DitchDay

How to Keep your New Year’s Resolutions on #DitchDay

By Alia Hurst

Overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions can be tricky to follow through with for an extended amount of time. In fact, studies show that only 9 percent of people actually keep their resolutions past the middle of January. Are you considering ditching yours? To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, set small and achievable goals that are connected to positive change. Below are some tips on how to make consistent strides in order to find success today.

1. Focus on the process, not the result

Instead of declaring, “I am going to have an organized closet,” think of smaller steps that are going to get you there.  For example, place a box on the floor of your space to be dedicated to donations. When you go through your closet, ask yourself if you wear these items and consider donating them to be worn by someone else. 

2. Set yourself up for success

Make your goal achievable in the short term. You don’t have to reorganize and redecorate your entire home; narrow your “to-do” list by working on one small area (like a desk or a closet) at a time. Doing so will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will motivate you to do more!

3. Connect to your core values

When your personal goal aligns with a cause you care about, you’ll find extra motivation to persevere. For example, donating your used clothing and household goods to Goodwill gives you the satisfaction of helping your fellow community members to attain vital job skills, explore employment opportunities and make a positive social impact. 

4. Find meaningful reasons to change

Being satisfied with who you are, what you do and how you impact people, is what matters. If you aren’t genuinely satisfied, change for that reason and not because a new calendar year has begun. It is important to realize that you can change at any point at any time. Your habits will only change if you put in the work and find the motivation to do so.

Did we encourage you to stick with your resolutions on #DitchDay? Tag us in your success stories! For decluttering tips, community impact information and more, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Take the “One-In, One-Out” Challenge with Goodwill

Take the “One-In, One-Out” Challenge with Goodwill

By Alia Hurst

During the holiday season, you might find yourself receiving newer items, left questioning what to do with the items they’ve replaced. Consider adopting the “one-in, one-out” philosophy this holiday season. For every new item you receive, give away the old item that is being replaced. While this is a great method for decluttering your living space, it is also a fantastic way to donate to those in need by supporting job services in your community.

Here are some commonly replaced items you can donate to Goodwill:

Electronics/Appliances

If you receive gifts like a new computer, a curling iron, gaming system, or a vacuum and have no reason to have two of the same items, consider donating. Goodwill accepts most electronics and small appliances; however, we do not accept televisions or microwaves. Even if these devices or appliances do not work, Goodwill recycles thanks to our partnership with Dell Reconnect. Donate to any Lincoln or York Goodwill location year-round during store hours or drop by our Electronics Drive on Saturday, January 7th 2023 from 10AM-2PM at 4555 Vine Street.

Clothes

New clothes often replace older ones that move to the back of your closet or your dresser. Unless these clothes have sentimental value, consider freeing up some space by donating them. Goodwill accepts textiles in all conditions; gently used textiles are sold while textiles with stains or tears are repurposed or recycled.

Shoes

When you receive a new pair of shoes or boots for the holidays, you might be tempted to toss the old pair out. Consider donating instead. Goodwill sells gently used shoes and recycles those that do not meet our production standards.

Toys

Especially as kids grow older, new, age-appropriate toys make great presents. In fact, toys took 7 different spots on the Best Products 2022 list of 75 most popularly rated holiday gifts. Instead of putting the replaced toys in a box in your closet, take that box to a local Goodwill. 

Even though the holiday season is nearly over, giving season never ends. When you donate to Lincoln Goodwill, you are giving your items a second life and supporting employment services that benefit your own community. 

Didn’t see the item you’re looking to donate? View a more comprehensive list of items Goodwill accepts here. To learn more about our annual Electronics Drive and other ways to donate, subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

MaddiGgifts Makes the Holidays Greener with Thrifted and Sustainable Gift Service

MaddiGgifts Makes the Holidays Greener with Thrifted and Sustainable Gift Service

By Alia Hurst

When you think of the holiday season, what comes to mind? Family? Food? Gifts? Trash?

The holidays can create a massive amount of waste due to overconsumption and gift-giving, yet there are ways to make sustainable changes.  We asked Maddi Galusha, who started MaddiGgifts in 2020, about her gift-wrapping service and how she uses reused and Goodwill-thrifted materials to face problems of over consumption and waste production during the holiday season.

Q: What sparked the start of the gift-wrapping service?

“For my very first job, I worked in a gift shop where we occasionally wrapped gifts for customers.  It always brought me joy to see the smile on people’s faces when we handed them their gifts! I was also always the one who wrapped gifts for my family holiday celebrations.”

Q: How many people do you get approached by during the holiday season?

“Over the past few years, I have averaged around 10-15 customers, bur with my business moving locations, I anticipate growth in that number this year!”

Q: On average, how many gifts do you wrap per person?

“I would say that it varies quite a bit.  Some people come to me with 5-10 gifts while others have had 50+ gifts!”

Q: What kind of materials do you use to wrap your gifts?

“I use a variety of materials.  I use gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, boxes, ribbon, labels, etc.  I also use decorative tins or baskets as well.”

Q: Where do you source your materials from?

“Most of my boxes I have come from packages I have ordered or gift boxes from previous years that I collect from family after the holidays or that customers have donated to me.  I reuse as much materials as possible, especially when it comes to boxes.  For fabric bows, I use ribbon.  The idea behind fabric bows is that they can be removed from the gift and reused or repurposed after the holidays.  I do purchase supplies from second-hand stores like Lincoln Goodwill, and I also receive many rolls of recyclable wrapping paper from family members or friends who have unused rolls.”

Q: How is sustainability in the holiday season important to you?

“I think it has become increasingly important, and I am still learning how to integrate sustainability into my business practices. This year, I plan to add a note for my customers about sustainability and recycling during the holiday season.”

Maddi serves the Lancaster and Fillmore County areas.  If you are interested in learning more about MaddiGgifts you can find her on Facebook at Maddi’s Gift Wrapping Service or @maddiggifts on Instagram.

If you or someone you know uses Goodwill-thrifted materials to make something new, contact us at info@lincolngoodwill.org for the chance to be featured in an upcoming blog post.

‘Tis the Season to go Green with Goodwill

‘Tis the Season to go Green with Goodwill

By Alia Hurst

According to a 2021 study by Forbes, Americans spend an average of $230 on holiday décor alone.  Instead of buying new, consider brightening your space on a budget by shopping at Goodwill.  Goodwill has a huge selection of holiday wreaths, trees, packaging materials and décor. Best of all, your Goodwill purchases will support various education and job-servicing community programs. 

Here are some reasons why Lincoln Goodwill is the place to shop this season:

1. Minimize Waste and Production

A recent study conducted by Stanford University found that Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of the year.  This amounts to over 25 million tons of garbage.  When you buy from Lincoln Goodwill, you are giving these items a second life and diverting them from the landfill.

2. Update Your Décor

At Lincoln Goodwill, you will find plenty of great holiday decorations that are nearly new and affordable.  Whether you are looking for vintage or modern items, you are bound to find something unique.  Shopping second-hand allows for individuality and provides the chance to personalize and/or refurbish items.

3. Spark Creative and New Ideas

Traditional decorations and packaging materials often times can only be used once.  During the holiday season, almost 227,000 miles of wrapping paper gets thrown in the trash, which would wrap around the Earth nine times.  This reinforces “throwaway culture” and becomes dangerous for our planet.  By purchasing wrapping materials at Lincoln Goodwill, you can create new uses for them after the holiday season.  For example, instead of wrapping something in wrapping paper, use a decorative tin or a woven basket (which can both be found at Goodwill).  Additionally, you can use colorful pages from magazines or newspaper to wrap or cushion your fragile gifts that you can easily reuse for birthdays and other holidays. 

This holiday season doesn’t have to be wasteful or expensive. Shopping at Lincoln Goodwill can encourage creativity, save money, and reduce waste to help the environment.  To learn more about sustainability through the holiday season, follow Lincoln Goodwill on social media and subscribe to our newsletter

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.