By Kimberly Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator
Last Saturday I was fortunate to be part of Goodwill’s first book sorting volunteer day in partnership with Read Early. Read Often. (RERO). Our goal was to get 500 gently used books in the hands of disadvantaged grade school children in Muskegon County. I was not prepared for the generous events that would unfold.
Goodwill President and CEO Jeanette Hoyer wants to help improve literacy rates for kids in our community where less than 40% of students reach adequate literacy level by third grade. Literacy directly affects education. And education is a pipeline to high wages, and a powerful tool in the fight to end poverty. Literacy improves when kids have books. And Goodwill has plenty to give.
We quickly found a strong partner in Allison Keessen at RERO who when asked if she could use free books responded, “Boy could we ever!”
We knew we needed to inspect, clean, and sort the books first. This takes manpower. RERO recruited 28 volunteers made up of high school students from “Reading Buddies United” which is comprised of area high school students from four schools: Orchard View, Oakridge, Mona Shores, and Muskegon. There were also volunteers from Rotary Interact, Pathfinders of Muskegon, and United Way of the Lakeshore.
On the day of book sorting at Goodwill’s headquarters in Muskegon, the positive energy was everywhere. Volunteers laughed, danced, and did the work while learning more about each other. Every once in an “Oh! I LOVED this book!” arose above the chatter and volunteers would rush to celebrate the title.
Two hours flew by in a flash. As we were packing up, I heard some of the kids talk about books that THEY were taking for their communities. Some were for book drives at school or for reading to grade schoolers. Nefertoria from Pathfinders of Muskegon took nearly 200 books to deliver on the streets. “I fill my trunk and when I open it, kids come running for books,” she said.
As we closed our first day together, Allison did a final book tally … 1,333 books were ready to go! These will be distributed wherever kids need them. Jeanette closed the day with a warm “thank you” for this group of generous people who truly are helping us “Change lives through the power of [their] work.”
If you would like to volunteer, or have locations that could use books for children contact Kim Harsch of Goodwill at (231) 722-7871, x1057.
By Nanci Penland, Goodwill Outlet and Store Manager
The wait is finally over! Our new outlet store in Muskegon is open for business.
Rolling up your sleeves and sifting through unsorted textiles and wares isn’t for everyone, but avid thrifters LOVE discovering hidden gems and the low, low price.
If you’ve never visited a Goodwill outlet, you are in for an experience. Serving as a “last chance” clearinghouse for our donated goods, items are placed unsorted in large bins and sold by the pound. The bins are rotated with fresh content throughout the day.
If outlet shopping isn’t your cup of tea, visit our regular retail store right next door in the same building!
Goodwill Outlet Shopping Tips
Bring bags or boxes to transport your purchases home.
Wear sturdy gloves when sorting through merchandise due to potential sharp objects.
For your safety, when merchandise bins are rolled onto the sales floor, please move out of the way. Please stand back until a Goodwill team member indicates “okay to shop” before approaching the bins.
The outlet is strictly “cash and carry” meaning we cannot hold or set aside your items. If shopping for furniture or other large items, please make sure you have a vehicle that can transport your purchases at the time of sale.
Monitor your cart and personal belongings! You are responsible for safeguarding.
Test electronics in designated areas.
Bring batteries to test toys and measuring tape if purchasing furniture.
Be patient and be courteous to fellow shoppers.
If bringing children, please do not leave them unsupervised; they must be accompanied by an adult.
If you plan on visiting our regular store afterwards (located next door!), please take your purchased items to your car first.
Clean your treasures when you get home. Wash what you can in hot water and use disinfectant wipes on toys, books, and other items. Rent a steam cleaner at your local hardware store to deep clean soft furniture.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Goodwill outlet? The Goodwill outlet serves as a last-chance clearinghouse for items that did not sell at our 17 Goodwill Industries of West Michigan stores after a four-week period of time on the shelf. Wonderful bargains can be found!
How is the outlet different from a traditional Goodwill store? Visiting a Goodwill outlet is a very different experience from shopping a regular store. Items are not sorted, hung, or organized but rather offered on large rolling tables for shoppers to sift through. Items are sold priced by the pound at a deep discount. Furniture and oversized items are individually priced. It’s the perfect experience for the bargain hunter who likes to roll up their sleeves.
How does the outlet operate? Unsorted clothing and other merchandise are put on rolling tables and rotated on and off the sales floor throughout the day offering continuous fresh selections. Shoppers place items in a shopping cart that is then weighed on a floor scale.
What is the pricing? Clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, glassware, and household goods are sold at $1.29 per pound. Furniture and other oversized items are priced individually.
What happens to merchandise not sold at the outlet? Items not sold during their time on the sales floor are then responsibly recycled or sold to a recycling partner.
Is the merchandise sorted? No. Items are heaped unsorted onto rolling carts.
How do my items get weighed? Shoppers place their cart onto a floor scale and the weight of the cart is subtracted.
Does the outlet supply bags for purchased items? Goodwill does provide some boxes but we encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.
What payment methods are allowed? Cash or credit cards are accepted; checks are not.
Can I return items purchase at the outlet? All items are sold as-is and there are no returns.
Do you accept donations at the outlet? Not in the outlet itself, but there is a convenient donation drive-thru in the same building.
Are Goodwill vouchers accepted? No
Where is the outlet located? 1501 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon Township right next to US-31
What are the days/hours of operation? The outlet is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With the recent wave of interest about decluttering and purging going on across America, and like many of you, I am SO HERE for it.
While decluttering our home is so satisfying in so many ways, I feel like we’re in a unique cultural moment where donating and shopping are intersecting in so many positive ways with people.
Yes, you can declutter and donate your stuff. AWESOME!
Yes, you can make your life better, and in the process, help Goodwill improve the lives of others in your community at the same time. AMAZING!
But what I think is often overlooked that now is also PRIME time to not just drop-off all your items at Goodwill, but POP-IN to the Goodwill near you to see how you can make all that decluttering work you’ve done really take hold and last.
I’ve been making weekly donation trips in the last few months and it feels SO good, but this week all that decluttering karma came back to me ten-fold.
Like a lot of parents, my kid’s rooms are often a vortex of clutter that seems impossible to keep in check. The shelf currently in use in their room had also been a Goodwill find years ago, but it was bringing me happiness long before I had kids and a house full of tiny bedrooms. So after culling some clothing, books, and toys from their room and donating them at my local Goodwill this week, I drove around front and popped in to see if anything got me excited.
When I spotted two tall red bookshelves being set out on the sales floor, my heart went ZING! This was the PERFECT piece to replace the ill-fitting shelving unit in their space, it matched the room’s decor, and would allow them to see their books much easier when picking our bedtime stories each night. I had made do with our old shelf for years until I found the perfect solution, and today was the day it appeared before me.
Just $8 each!
I couldn’t grab them fast enough. With one hand I carried them to the front, hardly believing my luck. Between the back of the store and checkout, at least two other shoppers congratulated me on my find. It felt like walking forward on stage after winning a beauty pageant.
Now came the tricky part. Pushing them into my car proved much more challenging than I hoped. Luckily after years of having a small car with two large car seats, I’m used to getting creative.
One of the reasons I love thrift stores so much is the sense of camaraderie among shoppers– something you just don’t get anywhere else. So in true thrift form, another shopper came out and seeing my conundrum, offered some advice on creative angles to try and squish it in. When it proved ineffective, she quickly went to her car and dug up a bungee cord to give me. It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it got me and my shelves home.
Success!Here is the result of my Goodwill find, complete with de-cluttered space. SO MUCH ZING!So when your friend mention they’re decluttering their homes, don’t forget to remind them that donating does so much more than get their unwanted items new homes, it also gives people in our communities a hand up, and perhaps something they donate will end up in YOUR cart the next time you go in.
November 15 is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It’s a great day to reflect on what more you can do to reduce your environmental impact and practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
Beyond recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper — and all the other personal waste produced from our daily lives — Goodwill can help you recycle a lot of other things! Founded on the business model of selling donated items, these goods are diverted from the waste stream. It’s a cycle that extends the life of usable items, while generating revenue and jobs for Goodwill’s mission-based programs.
Last year, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan reused or recycled over 9½ million pounds of donated material!
Computers/Electronics: Goodwill offers a free, easy, and environmentally responsible way to get rid of your unwanted computers, printers, flat screen monitors, TVs and more. Simply donate at any of our 16 Goodwill store and drive-thru donation centers. These items are either sold, or broken down into parts and recycled. We partner with reputable recyclers to maximize the commodity value of donated items while diverting toxic waste from our landfills. We no longer accept CRT TV or computer monitors (flatscreens are fine!). For a complete list of items we accept visit: www.goodwillwm.org/donate/what-to-donate/
Clothes/Textiles: Clothes that no longer fit, are out of style, or you simply don’t wear any more, are gratefully accepted. Items are priced, resold, and reused by someone else. And don’t throw your ripped jeans into the trash; we accept them too. Damaged, torn, or unsaleable clothing items are sorted and sold to various recyclers or salvage brokers for the greatest value.
Furniture: Downsizing, moving, remodeling can all result in unwanted furniture. Donating to Goodwill could be the perfect solution. With the advent of DIY-ing and the popularity of upcycling due to Pinterest, your shabby dresser might be reborn as shabby chic! Goodwill does offer a limited pick-up service in the Muskegon area for large items if you are unable to bring to Goodwill yourself. Please call 722-7871 to schedule.
And don’t forget, your generous donations fund our job training and employment services for people in West Michigan. We sincerely thank you!
Spring has finally arrived! That means Goodwill is very busy with many community partners collecting donations that can be reused, recycled, or sold in our stores. There is always a lot of focus and demand for donation drives in April, especially around the Earth Day weekend.
Our community partners include local municipalities, corporations, school systems, other nonprofits, churches, neighborhood associations, and many large and small business throughout the year. This April and May we will be working with Younkers, Casnovia Township, Gerber, Muskegon County, SpartanNash Stores, Hackley Public Library, City of Norton Shores, and Holton Township.
We are excited to start a relationship with Advanced Technology Recycling in Grand Rapids as a recycling partner for the old-style television and computer monitor also known as the CRT (or cathode ray tube). This recycler is a free source for these items for this calendar year. They have a goal of 4.5 million pounds to collect this year. If they reach that goal then there will be more funding available for proper recycling of those items in 2018.
Goodwill will collect and estimated 50,000 pounds in e-waste to be sent to Advanced Technology Recycling in the months of April and May. We realize that there still is a lot of e-waste in our communities and we are happy for the opportunity to collect and recycle responsibly.
Here are some of our upcoming donation drive and recycling events:
Saturday, April 15: Casnovia Township is holding their annual spring cleanup event
Saturday, April 22: Muskegon County Recycling Event held at 1350 E. Keating Ave. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free recycling event is open to Muskegon County residents. You are invited to recycle many household items include computers and TVs.
Receive a SpartanNash coupon, good for $10 off a $25 or more purchase at your local Family Fare or D&W Fresh Market store.
Goodwill can help your organization coordinate a donation drive. We can provide you with empty containers to fill with e-waste, books, household wares, clothing etc., which we can pick up later. Goodwill also does staffed collections in some of the communities we serve. Collection events need to be scheduled in advance. Contact me at 231-722-781 x251 to find out more.
Goodwill has partnered with Roadie to offer free pickup and delivery to-and-from Goodwill for new Roadie customers. Originally the offer was $20 off, but after the first week of the promotion that began Jan. 3, Roadie upped the ante to $62 (!!) … or the full cost of most local Goodwill pickup and deliveries.
To get started, visit; www.roadie.com To redeem your $62 discount, enter promo code GOODWILL.
Still Confused? Here’s a brief Q and A to help clarify things …
First of all, what the heck is Roadie?
Roadie is the first on-the-way delivery network. (Think Uber, only for your stuff!)
Roadie connects people who have items to send, with drivers heading in the right direction. Roadie’s model enables efficient, low-cost delivery for senders and rewards drivers for trips they were already taking. It’s quickly becoming the go-to delivery solution for large, out-of-the-box, or delicate items.
When Did Roadie Launch?
Roadie launched in the Southeast in January 2015, and became available in all 50 states in March 2015.
What types of items can I send?
You can send donations big and small, like furniture, appliances, clothing or household supplies. Goodwill cannot accept certain items, including CRT televisions or computer monitors, mattresses, cribs and other items due to the high cost of disposal and stringent government regulations.
articipating in the Younkers Goodwill Sale has never been so rewarding!
Here’s how the sale works:
Bring your gently used apparel, shoes, handbags, etc. to Younkers
Earn a 25% off Younkers coupon for each item donated. It’s that easy!
Here are three great reasons to donate items and shop now through March 26.
You directly impact your community by donating to Goodwill.
Funds generated by the sale of your donated items supports our job training and employment support services that help people right here in West Michigan. Goodwill offers and broad range of programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, and Goodwill Career Centers in both Muskegon and Holland are open to anyone needing help finding a job.
It’s easy to donate and save on spring fashions, beauty, and home.
Donors receive 25% off Younkers coupons for every item donated. Coupons are valid on nearly everything in the store (and online) including items that rarely go on sale.
It’s a great time to shop at Goodwill also … all those fresh donations are directly distributed to our Goodwill stores.
Enter to win a $100 daily prize and a $15,000 spring wardrobe makeover!
Visit the Million Acts of Goodwill website to enter for your chance to win a $15,000 spring style and wardrobe makeover. The winner will receive a consultation with a celebrity stylist, a closet review, and a shopping spree with the stylist at their local Younkers department store.
You can also visit the site daily for your chance to instantly win a $100 gift card!
What are you waiting for? Start your spring cleaning early and head over to Younkers for great savings!
By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing & Events Coordinator
As a new homeowner, I’ve been searching for unique and low cost items to decorate my home with.
When I found this adorable glass tree at our Roosevelt Park store in Muskegon, for only $1.50, I knew I had to get it! I had been swooning over items similar to this that were decorated to mimic antique “mercury” glass (or silvered glass.) I decided to give it a try!
I hadn’t had any experience with this before so I took to Pinterest and YouTube for a little inspiration.
My awesome $1.50 find, just got a little bath with soap and water, to remove the dust.
To create your own DIY (Do It Yourself) mercury glass tree/ vase you will need:
Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint
A clean spray bottle
A clear glass pieces you want to transform from Goodwill of course!
I made the mistake of looking at a hardware/ appliance store for the spray paint. So skip that, and check your local craft store like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabric’s, or Michael’s.
Let’s get started!
Lay out cardboard in ventilated area.
Mix half, water and white vinegar in spray bottle.
Shake spray paint really well (2 minutes and continue to shake throughout).
Mist the vinegar mixture into the tree.
Then mist the spray paint inside and swirl paint around to cover, let sit for 60 seconds.
You will begin to see bubbles creating a texture on the glass.
Repeat the vinegar and spray paint until desired look
And you’re done!
Here’s how my mercury glass tree turned out…
This technique can be applied many different ways, yet achieve similar results, depending on personal style. I wanted a heavier antiqued look, so I used multiple layers of spray paint and vinegar. For a more transparent look use less spray paint.
I love how elegant yet rustic it can look. I put mine on our mantle with the rest of our tree collection. It was so easy and cost effective! Home decor shouldn’t break the bank!
Try your hand at transforming glassware into mercury glass looking creations.
Candlesticks, hurricane, votive, vases and other glassware found at Goodwill would also make lovely antiqued mercury glass pieces. You won’t be disappointed!
This Sunday — in recognition of America Recycles Day — clean out your closets and donate your unwanted clothing and other household items to Goodwill.
Did you know every time you donate to Goodwill you are recycling? Recycling isn’t only separating the paper and plastic, it’s extending the life of things you no longer need.
Every item you donate or purchase at a Goodwill store, is one less item thrown into the landfill. It’s instant recycling! The fact is, Goodwill was “green” before it became the trend that it is today. It was founded on the business model of selling donated items and we are proud of our commitment to helping the environment.
All our recycling really adds up! Last year alone we reused and recycled 10,312,095 pounds of material, and that doesn’t even include our recycled and refurbished electronic waste. Last year we diverted 1,291,967 pounds of electronic waste from the waste steam.
Recycling begins when someone makes a donation. Most of the time items pass our inspection and are tagged, hung, and ready to be sold. Other times items might not meet our quality standards (stains, holes, missing buttons) and are unable to be sold in our stores. The items are then sold to various third-party recyclers. Some items will be repurposed into new items like insulation or filling for furniture like chairs and couches.
We also manufacturer industrial wipers (“GoodWipers”) from unsaleable clothing. Our cotton tee-shirts and sweatshirts are sorted and cut into rags for use in machine shops, auto garages, manufacturers and more. The wipers are made by Goodwill program participants with disabilities and are paid an hourly wage.
Most importantly your donated items fund our mission of providing work opportunities and skill development to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.
So why not help people in your community — as well as the environment — and shop at and donate to Goodwill.
By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing & Events Coordinator
att and Radha met on Halloween in 2013. Radha was dressed as Sarah from the movie “The Labyrinth” in a full-length wedding dress, train and all, that she purchased for $30 at Goodwill.
The following Halloween the couple got engaged. This time dressed as Princess Buttercup and Westley from the movie “The Princess Bride.” There fairy tale didn’t stop their, the movie would actually become the theme of their wedding!
The couple chose to DIY (do it yourself) almost everything for their wedding for two main reasons:
According to wedding planning website The Knot, the average cost of a wedding last year reached a national all time high of $31,213! And that didn’t include the honeymoon! The couple just wanted to celebrate their love for one another without all the debt.
To help to keep costs down, Matt and Radha DIYed as much as possible. They shopped at each Goodwill West Michigan store, looking for unique items, like candle holders and candles to help make their reception uniquely beautiful.
Radha created the invitation, from a hand drawn picture, that was printed with black ink on iridescent card stock. The most expensive piece was the stamps to mail the invitations.
The couple also created their own music playlist for the wedding, saving thousands of dollars in DJ fees and delegating the DJ responsibility to one of their siblings.
Gifts for attendants aren’t always necessary but the couple thought chocolate covered peanuts would be the perfect way of saying “thank you.” They purchased the candy in bulk and bagged it themselves (with the help of their family and friends.) “Anybody want a peanut?” ( Another reference to the movie.)
One of a kind
Matt and Radha are both very creative people, who love knitting, sewing, and crafting. When they got engaged and began planning a wedding they couldn’t imagine someone else creating their special day. They knew it had to be DIY.
According to RuffledBlog.com “This three letter code for putting your own stamp on your wedding day goes beyond just doing-it-yourself. Handcrafted details add warmth, history and thoughtfulness to an event in a way that no store bought item can.”
The centerpieces were one of a kind, and incorporated their theme of the “Princess Bride.” There were 50 mini milk bottles that they found at our Grand Haven Goodwill store.
They decorated the bottles with ribbon and adorned them with wildflowers. Most of the bottles also had a small vile of powdered sugar attached that resembled the ‘Iocaine Powder’ from the movie; …“it’s odorless, tasteless and highly soluble,” used by the hero Westley in his ‘battle of wits to the death’ with Vizzini.
The bride’s sister also provided her with 40 mason jars that were filled with water peals and led lights to decorate the tables.
The groom created the boutonnieres, and corsages out of silk flowers that they found from multiple Goodwill’s. The bride used the same flowers to craft her flower crown.
They had a guest book, made out of canvas that was decorated with leaves made of card stock and fabric. The leaves were cut out by hand and placed to resemble the branches of a tree.
But best of all, the bride wore the same $30 Goodwill dress she wore when she met her now husband on Halloween in 2013. Radha did all of the alterations on the wedding dress, including removing the train and the poofy sleeves, creating her perfect dress for the ball.
The most delicious part of their story was their wedding cake! The bride and groom both love to bake so they decided to use that love to make their wedding cake. It was a three-tier champagne cake with blackberry filling. Since the guest list was quite extensive they purchased a few sheet cakes for their guests to enjoy.
Their one suggestion: Ask for help.
There as one thing that Matt and Radha didn’t take on, and that was their photography. They were lucky enough to find an local photographer who captured their personalities perfectly. “Having a professional photographer was the best decision we ever made!” said Matt Kaminski. It allowed them to enjoy their special evening without having to worry.
The other important piece to the wedding was the food. The groom’s mother took on all of the catering and even helped serenade the bride and groom during their first dance, accompanied by the groom’s step father and the bride’s mother.
“We can’t say thank you enough!” said Radha, “Our friends and family were so much help in the planning and organizing of our wedding day!”
Each and every person that celebrated with the couple made the day special. The bride was given the gift of having her hair and makeup done for her special day by her sister-in-law. “The whole day was a celebration and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!” said Radha.
”DIY allowed us to make memories with the people we love, add meaning to the things that were special to us and leave out what wasn’t,” said Radha Kaminski. “We will cherish those memories and are so thankful for all the help we received.”
Matt and Radha’s story proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to have the wedding of your dreams. If you have a wedding (or party) to plan, visit Goodwill for one of a kind finds!