DON’T BELIEVE FAKE NEWS this holiday season!

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Despite what your Aunt Sylvia shared on Facebook last week, it turns out that candy canes are NOT Christian symbols of red and white created to represent the blood and purity of Jesus, shaped in the letter “J” for Jesus. (Excellent creative storytelling though.)

It might also surprise you to learn that Fisher Price does NOT actually sell a toy called “Happy Hour Playset” for children with pretend bar, bar stools, and beer bottles! (Notwithstanding the impressive Photoshopped illustration.)

Likewise, Goodwill Industries is not “owned” by an evil CEO named Mark Curran (?) who makes $2.3 million (!) a year and “gives $0 to help anyone.”  Even the name Mark Curran is a total fabrication!

This notorious “Think Before You Donate” email rumor has been around for OVER A DECADE and its misinformation grows every year. This old chestnut rears its bogus ugly head each year around the giving season and our shoppers and donors are confused and outraged. It unfairly slanders and maligns not only Goodwill, but Unicef, the United Way, March of Dimes, and the American Red Cross as well.

Bogus stories — spread like wildfire through email and social media — hurt Goodwill and other nonprofits with their misinformation. Please, please, PLEASE … do not believe and share every phony thing you read on the Internet!

At Goodwill we DO encourage our donors to research and learn more about the charities they support. The good news is a wealth of factual information is available at your fingertips! Check out reputable database sites such as Charity Navigator, Guidestar, the Better Business Bureau, etc.

IT IS TRUE not all charities are alike so please do your homework. It might surprise you to know that some organizations operating thrift stores give as little as 5 percent of their overall revenue to charity. According to CharityWatch standards, a nonprofit should devote at least 60 percent or more of their revenue on their charitable programs, with the most highly efficient charities stretching that number to 75 percent or more. At Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, that percentage of efficiency is more than 90 percent.  That means more than 90 cents of every dollar we earn is spent on job-training programs and community-based services for people with disabilities and other disadvantages right here in West Michigan. Ninety percent is a very healthy number in the nonprofit world and a solid indicator of our commitment to the good stewardship of your donations. We have a 66-year track record of providing services that meet critical human service needs in our West Michigan community. We are consistently ranked among top charity watchdog groups as an organization that makes your donations go further so it’s so very frustrating and disheartening to have to combat these fabricated scurrilous postings year after year.

Oh, one more thing … that phone hotline direct from the North Pole where the real Santa answers your children’s calls? Sorry, that’s a fib too (http://www.snopes.com/santas-phone-number/).

Warm wishes to all for a happy holiday season. Thank you for shopping at and donating to Goodwill. You make our mission possible!

DO BELIEVE in the magic of the season … DON’T BELIEVE the lies.

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