Lincoln Goodwill Announces Ninth Annual Neighborhood Challenge Winners

Lincoln Goodwill Announces Ninth Annual Neighborhood Challenge Winners

by Alana Sesow

Lincoln Goodwill celebrated the 2021 garage sale season by hosting their biggest Neighborhood Challenge yet. With 17 participating associations, Goodwill collected a total of 32,656 pounds of donations!

Every year, 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 project of their choice.

The Highlands Neighborhood Association took first place this year, donating 4,569 pounds of gently used items after their annual garage sales. HNA President Myrna Coleman said the Association will use the prize money to improve their neighborhood park. They are currently deciding among a variety of projects, including installing benches and planting trees.

Win or lose, Coleman said that the Highlands’ residents are always thankful to have the Goodwill truck in the neighborhood after their garage sales.

“What I like is that people in the Highlands neighborhood are able to donate in a central location,” Coleman said. “It’s a good thing for both the Highlands and Goodwill.”

Southwood and Witherbee placed second and third, respectively. Other participating neighborhoods included Briarhurst West, Bicentennial Estates, Wellington Greens, Forest Lake Estates, Stone Bridge Creek, Eastridge, North Hills, College View, Williamsburg, Wilderness Hills, Vintage Heights, Tierra, Near South and ECCO.

Thanks to the generosity of all of the Neighborhood Challenge donors, Goodwill can continue to connect local job seekers of all abilities and backgrounds to employment opportunities. The sales from Goodwill’s retail stores help fund free employment services in the community, like Goodwill’s Job Connection Center and other local nonprofits that support their mission.

To host a Goodwill donation drive or learn more about the next Neighborhood Challenge, call 402-742-8456 or email Goodwill’s 10th Annual Neighborhood Challenge registration will open in February 2022.

Celebrate the New School Year with Goodwill’s Electronics Drive

Celebrate the New School Year with Goodwill’s Electronics Drive

By Alana Sesow

A new school year is the perfect opportunity to leave old habits – and excess technology – in the past. Give yourself a fresh start this fall by donating to Goodwill’s Back-to-School Electronics Drive.

Participating is easy; just bring your donations to the large Goodwill truck at 4555 Vine Street on Saturday, August 7th from 10am to 2pm. Plus, every person who donates at least one piece of technology can enter our raffle to win free school supplies and a Goodwill gift card.

Most importantly, your donations will create a better future by improving both the environment and the job-seeking community. Working electronics will be sold in our retail stores, where the revenue helps fund free, local programs that assist job seekers as they overcome traditional barriers to employment. Such programs include our Job Connection Center, our ROE program, and other local nonprofits that support Goodwill’s mission.

Other electronics will be refurbished or responsibly recycled thanks to Goodwill’s partnership with Dell Reconnect. Instead of trashing the donations, Dell carefully breaks down electronics and uses the individual parts to create new technology. In 2020 alone, Lincoln Goodwill diverted almost 2.2 million pounds of materials from the local landfill, including 61,630 pounds of electronics.

Goodwill accepts most electronics and small appliances, but we cannot accept microwaves or TVs at this time. If you can’t make it to our event, you can donate electronics year-round at our six retail locations in Lincoln and York. For questions or more information, call 402-742-8456 or email

Ten Steps to Get Organized for Back-To-School Clothes Shopping

We are fast approaching back-to-school time and now is a great time to share how to get ahead of the game with a quick project to ease your way into the shopping season.

You can save the most time, money, and hassle if you know what you already have that works, what each child needs for the current season and what each child needs for the next season. So let’s help you get a step ahead by getting your kids’ clothing organized for some savvy shopping.


Typically, you want to get as much of this project done as possible without the kids and involve them for a targeted amount of time at the end. If kids are older or if they are interested in the process, they may benefit from being involved so that they can learn from what you’re doing.

You’ll need the following supplies to get started:

  • Paper grocery sacks,
  • Plastic storage bins,
  • Permanent marker,
  • Paper and
  • Pen.
  • Bonus: label maker for bins

Let’s dive in:

  1. Get the laundry done as much as possible to give you a full view of what you have. As you fold the laundry, note the sizes of the kids’ underwear, shirts and pants. Also make a note of anything that needs to be replaced.
  2. Tell the kids you’re going to ask them later to try on a few clothes to see if they fit. Many children cooperate better if they have been given advance notice to transition into activities.
  3. Start with the folded clothing in their dresser drawers, such as socks, underwear, shorts and sweaters. Check each item for size and wear-and-tear, neaten it up and organize it as needed. Make note along the way of anything you need to purchase.
  4. If you’re not sure whether something fits, start a try-on pile for each child for later.
  5. Anything that has been outgrown can be placed in a paper sack to donate to Goodwill. Mark the bag with the permanent marker with the word “donate.” You can also label and use the bags to sort other items like toys that need putting away in other rooms.
  6. If you have younger family members who may want outgrown items as hand-me-downs, put these items in storage bins and label the full boxes by gender, range of sizes and season.
  7. Next, move to the closet and tackle the hanging clothing. Keep noting what needs replacing and areas that are coming up short. Consider everything in terms of “good school clothes” and count how many shirts, pants and dresses will currently work.
  8. Once you’ve gone through all of each child’s clothing, take whatever’s left in the try-on pile and grab the kids for a try-on session. Some kids may be more cooperative if you let them try-on while they watch a favorite show as a treat, and some may think it’s a big fun fashion show! Do have fun with it and work with your child’s preferences to make it painless for everyone.
  9. Write down everything you notice that is needed and the correct sizes for everyone. Don’t forget underwear, socks, belts, ties, hair accessories, jackets, sweaters, school uniforms, “party clothes,” athletic shoes, casual shoes and dress shoes.
  10. Take your bags of donations to your nearest Goodwill donation center. You can find the closest one using our locator. You’ll be helping fund programs and services in your own community that help people get good jobs while helping the planet too!

Now you’re ready! Your kids’ clothes are organized, and you have a list of exactly what you need to get from the big sales in a few weeks. And don’t forget the bargains you can get every day shopping at Goodwill, where gently used kids’ clothing can be the perfect way to save even more.

Happy summer and welcome back students!

Goodwill Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Goodwill Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Lincoln, NE — Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has been informed by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF) that it has earned accreditation for a period of three years for its Organizational Employment Services program. “The program participants report a high level of satisfaction with the services provided by Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska. Creative problem solving and flexibility display themselves in the promotion of skill development, independence, and personal growth,” stated the survey report compiled by CARF.

During a confidential interview, one participant commented, “If it weren’t for Goodwill and the support I received, I don’t know where I would be. It literally saved my life.”

This accreditation outcome, which represents the highest level of accreditation, is awarded to organizations that show substantial fulfillment of the standards established by CARF.  In addition, CARF commended Goodwill for its development of natural supports in the workplace and its celebration of diversity, creating a culture of respect for each program participant. Goodwill uses revenue generated by its retail stores to enhance those efforts to meet the needs of the community. An organization receiving a three-year Accreditation outcome has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. Further, an organization accredited for three years clearly indicates that present conditions represent an established pattern of total operations that is likely to be maintained or improved in the foreseeable future.

The latest action marks the tenth consecutive three-year Accreditation outcome awarded to Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. by CARF, an international accrediting body. 

About Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc.

Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. is a not-for-profit with a mission of willing workers employed and community resources maximized. Goodwill serves the Lincoln community through programs that train individuals with barriers to employment and help them find paying work. Additionally, Goodwill contributes to ecological balance through massive recycling efforts of unsaleable textiles and other products.The community can support Goodwill all year long by donating their gently-used items, shopping at Goodwill Stores and making tax-deductble financial donations. Revenue for Goodwill comes from a variety of sources. The sale of donated goods remains the greatest source of funding for programs Goodwill provides. Learn more at

About CARF

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services, enhancing the lives of persons served worldwide. The accreditation process applies CARTF’s internationally recognized standards during a site survey conducted by peer surveyors. Accreditation, however, is an ongoing process that distinguishes a provider’s service delivery and signals to the public that the provider is committed to the continuous performance improvement, responsive to feedback, and accountable to the community and its other stakeholders.

CARF accreditation promotes provider’s demonstration of value and Quality Across the Lifespan of millions of persons served through application of rigorous organizational and program standards organized around the ASPIRE to Excellence continuous quality improvement framework. CARF accreditation has been the recognized benchmark of quality health and human services for more than 50 years.

Fourth of July Celebration Ideas with Goodwill®

Fourth of July Celebration Ideas with Goodwill®

By Anne-Marie Maher

As summer continues to heat up, Fourth of July is right around the corner. Each year, the holiday brings together groups of friends and family to enjoy time with one another. Whether you’re hosting the gathering or bringing a dish, Goodwill is a great place to find pieces that will make the holiday feel that much more festive.

The Life of the Party: Food.

Folks tend to center their Fourth of July gatherings around sizzling barbecue, homemade favorites and sweet desserts. Stay environmentally conscious and choose to skip the plastic plates. Instead, dress up the party with unique dishware from Goodwill. It’s both inexpensive and better for the environment. Take it a step further and make the food pull double duty. Arrange a red, white and blue dessert in a clear glass bowl and use it as a centerpiece.

Red, White, and Blue berry dessert in a clear dish from Goodwill.

The Vibe of the Party: Decorations.

If you love to DIY, Pinterest has countless ideas for festive decorations (see Goodwill’s board) with items you can easily find at your local Goodwill. But, if you’d rather spend less time on decorations, check out these silverware holders. First, pick up some mason jars that double as a drink jar. Then, stuff them with bandanas or napkins and some silverware. This is a simple way to dress up your tablespace.

Red and Blue bandanas in mason jars form Goodwill.

The Party: You.  

Be a firework this fourth by decking yourself out head-to-toe in red, white and blue. Matching your outfit to the color scheme is a simple, but effective way to create a cohesive look. Goodwill has Fourth of July themed attire for a fraction of the price from the superstore. Or, browse the racks for clothing that matches the theme, but can also be worn year-round. Goodwill stores are sorted by colors, making the red, white and blue look easy to find! Goodwill Fabulous scored the dress below for $4.99, originally retailed for $138.

Goodwill Fabulous girls pose in thrifted outfits.

We know that thrifting is less expensive and better for the environment. But, did you know that thrifting at Goodwill also helps to fund Goodwill’s employment programs? Goodwill’s programs promote independence for people within the Lincoln community who need support to provide for themselves and their families. Whether you shop or donate, thank you for supporting our community.

How To Make The Most Of Your Free Home Pickup

How To Make The Most Of Your Free Home Pickup

By Alana Sesow

Most people know that Goodwill’s retail stores accept gently used donations year-round. But, what about items that cannot fit in your vehicle? Whether you’re decluttering after a garage sale, moving across the country, or anything in between, Goodwill can pick up large donations for free within the Lincoln/Waverly city limits. Follow these seven steps to schedule your home pickup and make the most of this opportunity:

Step 1: Check Donations

Round up your items and double-check that they meet our donation guidelines. If the donations are in gently used or better condition and are too big to fit in your vehicle for one trip to our retail store, you qualify for a free home pickup. Click here for a list of items that Goodwill accepts.

Step 2: Make a List

Make a list of the items you’re donating, and keep it handy. When you schedule your pickup, you’ll be asked to provide this list, which ensures that our drivers reserve enough room in the truck for your donations. Plus, the list will help you estimate the value of your donations next tax season. If you need help estimating the value of your donations, click here for Goodwill’s online guide.

Step 3: Schedule the Pickup

Call 402-438-2022 or fill out our online form to schedule your pickup. All home pickups must be scheduled at least one business day in advance, but we encourage you to book the pickup earlier, if possible, to ensure availability. Spring and summer are especially busy!

Step 4: Move Donations

Move your donations to the location listed in your home pickup entry. When the truck arrives, your donations must be outside at ground level or in a garage if someone is there to open the door. If you are unable to move the items outside and would like someone to enter your home to pick up the items, Goodwill’s partnership with College H.U.N.K.S. offers a 10% discount for this service when you mention “Goodwill” at the checkout. To schedule a College H.U.N.K.S. pickup, click here or call 402-805-4411.

Step 5: Check the Weather

If there is rain or snow in the forecast, we suggest moving your items inside a garage or under an awning to prevent weather damage. If you need to make a last-minute change to your pickup, call 402-438-2022.

Step 6: Save the Receipt

After the pickup, save the Goodwill donation receipt that will be supplied to you. You only need one receipt per year, but if you misplace it, you can email for an electronic copy.

Step 7: Celebrate!

Not only did you successfully declutter your home, but you also made a difference in the community. The sales from your donations will help fund local employment services programs, including Goodwill’s free downtown Job Connection Center. Goodwill also partners with other nonprofits in Lincoln that help advance our mission of “Willing workers employed and community resources maximized.” Additionally, your donations make Lincoln greener by reducing the size of our local landfill.

From Jeans to Jobs: What Happens to Your Goodwill Donation?

With spring cleaning in full swing, there are countless destinations for your gently used items. So why donate to Goodwill?

Lincoln Goodwill is more than just a network of thrift stores; we’re a locally operated organization that connects job seekers to employment opportunities. To celebrate National Goodwill Week, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look into our donation process. In just five steps, here’s how we turn jeans into jobs:

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Celebrate Earth Day With Goodwill

Celebrate Earth Day With Goodwill

By Alana Sesow

Every April 22nd, people all around the globe gather to celebrate Earth Day and promote a greener way of life. With over 1 billion participants per year, Earth Day is now recognized as the largest secular observance in the world.

To celebrate, Lincoln Goodwill has created a list of practical ways you can help the environment today and every day. As you complete these activities – or invent your own — remember to snap a photo and post your good work on social media with the hashtag #SustainableGood!

1. Shop thrift.

Thrifting isn’t just fun; it’s environmentally friendly, too. According to Business Insider, it takes 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, and 2,000 gallons to produce one pair of jeans. On the other hand, Goodwill uses 0 gallons of water to put a donation on the sales floor. When you buy used instead of new, you help preserve natural resources and keep our planet healthy.

2. Recycle your electronics.

Instead of throwing away the electronics you no longer use, drop them off at the nearest Goodwill. Thanks to our partnership with Dell Reconnect, all technology donated to Goodwill is either resold, refurbished, or responsibly recycled. Learn more about Goodwill and Dell’s fight against e-waste here.

3. Repurpose old household items.

Save money and the environment by upcycling commonly trashed items. In a few easy steps, you can turn an old cereal box into a magazine holder, an empty pill bottle into a survival kit and a tin can into a festive vase. You can also revive an old piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint, as shown above. Browse our Pinterest boards for more ideas.

4. Donate textiles.

Every year, up to 85% of textiles end up in landfills. When you skip the dumpster and donate to Goodwill instead, your textiles are given a second chance at life through our retail stores. Additionally, textiles that do not meet our production standards are responsibly recycled. Learn more about our environmental impact here.

5. Celebrate with CHaRM.

Round up your hard-to-recycle materials and get ready for the Nebraska Recycling Council’s CHaRM Event! On Saturday, April 24th, the NRC is teaming up with Goodwill and other local recycling organizations to collect electronics, scrap metal, documents for shredding, EPS foam, batteries, textiles and housewares. Donors can drop off materials from 9am to 1pm at the Nebraska Innovation campus. For more information and a full list of accepted materials, click here.

Goodwill Campus Move-Out 2021: 5 Reasons To Donate

Goodwill Campus Move-Out 2021: 5 Reasons To Donate

By Alana Sesow

Congratulations, college students: you’re almost done with the spring semester! To celebrate your hard work, Lincoln Goodwill is teaming up with Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to lighten your load – literally – as you move out of the dorms.

From April 26th to May 10th (UNL) or April 23rd to May 12th (NWU), Goodwill will place collection bins inside all residence halls as a part of our 2021 Campus Move-Out drive. Here are five reasons why you should take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. It’s convenient. During the busiest time of the semester, you can donate items to Goodwill without ever leaving your residence hall. This means you’ll have extra time to study (or nap) as finals week approaches.
  2. Decluttering can help you study for finals. Research has shown that people who work in uncluttered spaces are more focused, more productive, and better able to process information. So, if you have items sitting on your desk that you don’t need, donate them! Your brain – and your GPA – will thank you.
  3. You’ll save space in your vehicle. After cramming for finals, the last thing you want to do is cram extra items into your car. Before you turn your move-out into a jigsaw puzzle, consider donating what you no longer need. If you won’t use it, you shouldn’t have to pack it.
  4. Donating is environmentally friendly. When you donate to Goodwill, your items are sold in our retail stores and given a second chance at life. Items that do not meet our production standards are responsibly recycled. In 2020 alone, Lincoln Goodwill diverted 2.2 million pounds of materials from the landfill. Learn more about our environmental impact here.
  5. Your donations create jobs. Sales from our retail stores help fund Goodwill’s Job Connection center: a free computer lab in downtown Lincoln that provides one-on-one assistance to local job seekers. Alongside Job Connection, Goodwill’s ROE program and partnership with other Lincoln nonprofits allows us to better serve individuals with disabilities and other traditional barriers to employment.

Goodwill accepts gently used furniture, clothing, electronics, and home goods, but cannot accept microwaves or TVs. We can also accept and responsibly recycle some items that don’t meet our sales standards, such as stained/torn textiles and broken electronics. Click here for a more comprehensive list of accepted donations. For more information about Goodwill Campus Move-Out 2021, email or call 402-742-8456.