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!

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.

Goodwill Celebrates America Recycles Day with a Focus on Textiles

Goodwill Celebrates America Recycles Day with a Focus on Textiles

By Alana Sesow

Every November 15th since 1994, Americans have celebrated National Recycling Day (also known as America Recycles Day). This annual event encourages others to be more mindful of what they consume and responsibly recycle what they no longer need.

But recycling isn’t limited to just paper, plastic and cardboard; thanks to Goodwill, you can recycle your used textiles, too. Here’s how – and why – we do what we do:

The Impact of Textile Waste

It’s easy to trash the textiles, especially when you don’t see where they go. Unfortunately, nothing thrown away truly goes away.

Every year, the U.S. generates 28 billion pounds of textiles: clothing, bedding, shoes and other items made from woven fabric. Of that 28 billion, the EPA estimates that only 19% is donated or recycled, while the other 81% is landfilled.

These textiles don’t just take up space; they decompose in harmful ways, too. When clothes sit in landfills, they don’t biodegrade. Instead, they emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which contribute to global warming. Additionally, dyed textiles leach dangerous chemicals into the environment, harming our land, water and air.

The Second Life of Textiles

Fortunately, there are alternatives to the landfill.

Donating your textiles gives them a second chance at life. At Goodwill, gently used textiles are sold in our thrift stores across Southeast Nebraska, while items that are torn, stained or don’t meet our production standards are reused in a number of ways:

  • Sold as baled bundles. Many of the textiles that can’t be sold in Goodwill stores are baled at our warehouse in North Lincoln. Often, the organizations that buy the baled bundles will ship them to third-world countries, where they are used to meet a variety of needs. Some organizations will distribute the materials as they are while others will use the existing parts to create something new (see image above).
  • Used as rags. T-shirts and towels that don’t meet Goodwill production standards are often ripped, turned into cleaning rags and sold in bulk. Occasionally, Goodwill uses these rags to wipe up spills or flooding in our buildings.
  • Repurposed in DIY events. Goodwill’s DIY events are made possible by reusable textiles, craft supplies and other donated materials. For example, our 2021 Halloween Make & Take event provided donated cloth for attendees to use to make fabric pumpkins. At the end of our DIY events, we re-donate the leftovers.

“One thing people might not realize is we recycle all of the textiles we don’t sell,” said Scott Rotert, Operations Coordinator at Lincoln Goodwill. “Nothing goes to the trash.”

Turning Textiles into Jobs

No matter the condition of your textiles, Goodwill will find a job for your donations – and find jobs for people, too. Whether your textiles are sold in our thrift stores or at our warehouse, the revenue we collect funds local employment programs and services. Thanks to your donations, we can continue to operate our Job Connection Center: a free computer lab in our downtown Lincoln store that helps local job seekers with employment-related needs, including resume creation, work clothing vouchers, computer skills and more.

Interested in donating your textiles to Goodwill? Click here to find a donation center near you.

Local Senior Apartment Complex Donates 750 Pounds to Goodwill

Local Senior Apartment Complex Donates 750 Pounds to Goodwill

By Alana Sesow

On Tuesday, October 19th, Capitol View Tower Apartments gave its residents the chance to impact the community without ever leaving the parking lot. In just two hours, residents of the downtown senior apartment complex collected 750 pounds of gently used clothing, electronics and home goods through their Goodwill donation drive.

“Many residents had expressed an interest in wanting to clean out [their] apartment,” said Deb Kallhoff, Resident Service Coordinator for Capitol View Tower Apartments. “However, transportation was an issue.”

So Kallhoff contacted Goodwill to see if they could help.

To save the residents a trip to the retail store, Goodwill helped Kallhoff organize a free, on-site donation drive. This included a two-hour centralized donation pickup in the Capitol View Tower parking lot, during which a Goodwill staff member loaded donations onto the truck as they rolled in. Additionally, Goodwill provided free marketing materials, including flyers and digital images, to help Kallhoff spread the word to residents.

“The whole experience was excellent, from arranging the event to the actual event,” Kallhoff said. “It was all very seamless and easy. Goodwill staff is amazing!”

Most importantly, Kallhoff knew that hosting a Goodwill donation drive wouldn’t just be convenient; it would be rewarding, too. By donating to Goodwill, residents would help local job seekers find employment, regardless of the traditional obstacles they may face. The revenue from Goodwill’s thrift stores in Lincoln and York funds free employment services in Southeast Nebraska, like those offered at Goodwill’s Job Connection Center in downtown Lincoln.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Kallhoff said. “Residents get to feel good about helping others and the community benefits from the donations.”

Thanks to organizations like Capitol View Tower Apartments, Goodwill can continue to serve local job seekers for years to come. Goodwill would like to thank all its donors, big and small, for making its mission possible.

Want to host your own donation drive? Call 402-742-8456 or email donate@lincolngoodwill.org to get started.