Three great reasons to donate during the Younkers Goodwill Sale

NECKLACE-YOUNKERS-2016

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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!

 

We love our donors

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

James Cherney

Happy New Year! I would like to thank everyone who donated, shopped, volunteered, and assisted, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan in 2015. Your generous contributions helped someone in our community find a job, keep a job, and earn a paycheck. Work is something we should never take for granted; just ask a person who has a barrier to employment. Work provides a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and independence. The power of work really does change lives!

Goodwill’s mission, and our ability to serve others, comes from community. As we enter February — one of the coldest months of the year — I’m asking you to bear the snow and ice, and please donate your gently used items to any one of our 18 conveniently located donation centers.

Donations are the lifeblood of our mission; a mission that never stops or takes a time out due to inclement weather. Goodwill staff are ready to greet you and accept your unwanted clothing, toys, housewares, furniture, electronics, and more. Your donations are handled with great care, and sorted and processed for their fullest value, for someone else to use and enjoy.

Need a receipt? Our easy online donation calculator does the math for you and allows you to print out an itemized receipt for your tax records.

Thank you for a wonderful 2015, we are looking forward to an even more prosperous 2016, and with your assistance we will be able to serve more people this year and many more years to come.

To find a Goodwill store and donation center nearest you, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/where-to-donate/

To utilize the Goodwill donation calculator, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/donation-calculator/

Gearing up for tax season

By Carl Lewis, Tax Program Coordinator

carl lewis

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ach tax season brings a great opportunity to assist more people in the community. As the new Tax Program Coordinator at Goodwill, I am excited to be a part of this positive impact.

I have several years of volunteer experience with Goodwill’s free tax preparation program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). It has always been a pleasure to work with people and assist them. In my former position as a financial coach, I found that tax time is the perfect opportunity to help people get back on track with their finances. The lump sum of money a person receives from a return, allows me a chance to identify an individual’s financial goals and help to achieve them.

I have a strong appreciation for the education the free tax preparation program provides, and it has been a pleasure to train and work with others. It is satisfying to share my knowledge and know that I am helping others learn a valuable life-long skill. All of our volunteers providing tax assistance are certified by the IRS.

With constant changes occurring on a state and national level, people requesting assistance have access to capable volunteers who can provide the answers. Changes with the healthcare system and the Affordable Care Act have caused great concern. We like to utilize the tax program as a platform to help clarify the impact of insurance on tax returns as well as provide information on resources. Filers also often have questions about the numerous forms, the legal requirements of filing, exemptions they are eligible for, and more. We can help!

There has always been a passion for volunteerism and community in my life. I am excited for this new endeavor as a leader with this program. I am looking forward to a robust tax season and helping individuals and families receive the funds they are entitled to.

If you are interested in getting help with your taxes, learning about our service offerings and eligibility requirements, or want to find out where and when services are offered, please visit our all-in-one website: www.vitawestmichigan.org or call 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment.

If you earned less than $62,000 last year, and would like to file on your own, visit www.myfreetaxes.com and file for free using easy, safe, and secure software provided by H&R Block.

Community inclusion and participation

By Meredith Champagne, Vocational Rehabilitation Manager

As part of our vocational services at Goodwill, we offer community-integrated activities to our program participants with disabilities that work here at our corporate headquarters. They are offered a variety of educational, volunteer, and leisure activities outside of their work setting.

Not only do these optional group outings result in fun and rewarding experiences, they can be very instructive too. People enroll in Goodwill programming for vocational and life skills, and these community-based outings are just another way for people to grow and learn. Assisting a resident at a nursing home for instance, teaches interpersonal relationship skills and cooperation, while volunteering at a local animal shelter develops cleaning capabilities. We try and teach each individual that giving back is part of what makes a stronger community.

Our educational trips include visits to the library, museums, or local historical sites. Groups have enjoyed tours of TV and radio stations, attended offsite computer classes, and been aboard the GVSU research vessel. One the most memorable excursions was a trip to Milwaukee on the Lake Express ferry with a small group. For most of the travelers, this was their first trip out of state, let alone on a boat of that size. Additionally, many area businesses and local manufacturers have generously opened their doors to us for informative tours of their facilities, and treated us as valued guests. Exposing our people to different experiences and places helps them see life from a different angle, and to better connect with their neighbors and community.

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Not only does our community integration activities enrich the lives of the people we serve, it’s also a great opportunity for the public to learn about Goodwill and our mission, and to relate with a population they might not be that familiar with. The people we meet through these community outings are always impressed with how hard-working, thoughtful, curious, and capable our workers are.

Donate a little time. Make a BIG impact.

By Amanda Grover, Tax Program Coordinator

How many volunteer opportunities have you heard of that can make a $5,000 difference in someone’s life? Volunteers involved in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Services for West Michigan can tell you it is a very rewarding experience. Last tax season, volunteers assisted more than 2,200 households in West Michigan, and the economic impact of our efforts was greater than $2.4 million.

We are always looking for new volunteers! No accounting or tax experience is required – you only need a little time, some basic computer knowledge, and the desire to learn.

This free tax preparation program assists low-to moderate-income individuals, and for some, this is the largest lump sum of money they will receive all year. For some struggling families, these tax returns make a big difference – enabling them to stay in their homes, pay overdue bills, and buy groceries.

The program has been hugely beneficial to our community, and volunteering is a great opportunity to learn something new and develop a useful life-long skill. Our VITA volunteers have enjoyed getting to know each other and experiencing the camaraderie that results from our common goal. A few of our student volunteers turned the experience into an internship and a way to gain future job references. Regardless of the various benefits, volunteers agree that the biggest reward comes from the gratitude of people receiving the service, and learning first hand how much the return is going help that person or family.

The free tax preparation program has had a presence in Muskegon for over a decade. Goodwill became the lead agency for the program four years ago. There are lots of volunteer times and locations to choose from! This coming tax season, there will be 11 sites in four counties: Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake. Sites operate at various times but appointments are available anywhere between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will also be select sites operating on Saturdays.

To learn more about volunteering with VITA Services for West Michigan, please contact me at 231-722-7871, ext. 246 or send me an email at agrover@goodwillwm.org