CULTURE

Why I Don’t Give to Goodwill

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Why I Don’t Give to Goodwill

I’m not a fan of Goodwill, but I will acknowledge there are ways that they help communities.  Such as providing low-cost goods and work experiences to those with special needs, and contributing to programs like Habitat for Humanity.

But, for me, when there is an opportunity to help a family in need more directly, I take that road first.

What does that mean?

Well, for starters, I call the local shelters and ask if they have families that could use any of the items we have to give, I call churches and local organizations that contribute to improving life on the reservations and I keep in mind any individuals who I personally know are hurting.

If you volunteer at a local organization, that’s a much better bet.  You can see how they operate.  Take note of whether they “skim of the top,” a common practice in organizations that collect goods for the needy.  By understanding more about the organization you’re donating to, you can ensure that families are getting access to the goods you donate.

My Experience with Goodwill

My biggest reason for this is my own experience as a child of poverty in a family that had difficulty in even keeping food on the table.  We could not afford to purchase clothes, shoes, blankets and most definitely not presents for the holidays.

A trip to Goodwill was something that I was grateful for, but at the same time, it was a reminder of what we did not have.  While other families could afford three dollars for some clothes and other goods, my family could not…even that little, we could not.

It was hard to watch families shop at their leisure and walk away with so many items we could not afford, in a place that claimed to help the poor.  I’m sorry, but the poorest families shouldn’t come last.

For that reason I give…the old fashioned way, with no strings attached.

Give with Intention

I appreciate the things that Goodwill does for some middle and lower income families who may not have the resources to shop at retail stores.  For them, Goodwill can be a great help and I don’t knock that.

But for families who truly have nothing, Goodwill is far beyond their reach.  Goodwill is not the preferred option if your goal is to help the most needy in our country.

So, before you make a pit stop at the Goodwill, I just want to encourage givers to also consider volunteering in your community, or contacting local shelters and human service agencies to inquire about giving to those who are in dire need.

It may take some extra effort on our part, but it’s worth it to know that someone’s children will be fed, someone’s grandmother will have a warm blanket and someone’s mother or father will be clothed.

Consider volunteering somewhere or giving to a smaller organization this year.  Learn about them.  Find out how they give and who they give to.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This way, when you give, you’re doing it with intention.  ❤

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  • Coco
    December 5, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Thanks for sharing!   I donate to Goodwill, but always check with local charities first.   We live in Ventura County, CA and overall it's a community that does well – good schools, good programs, etc., but we have lots of people in need….My husband and I do a lot of work with single parents, homeless and struggling families through Catholic Charities and always give there 1st, since they help directly and don't charge.  Thanks for your post!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      December 5, 2011 at 12:42 am

      Coco…that's so cool.  :)  Thanks for sharing!  I'm so glad to hear that you are doing such awesome things in your community!  You're definitely an inspiration.  :)  

      I'm glad when anybody gives, anywhere…but I just think it's great when we can give something back and know where it's going and that it's meeting a need.  So important.  <3
        
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience with me!  :)

  • Maria Adcock
    December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    What you say totally makes sense, to more directly donate to a family for free versus a third party who will still charge for the items.

  • Me and the Mexican
    December 8, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I love this post!  You are so right!  I can speak from personal experience as well.  When my son was around 2, we were going through a hard time financially.  I had a dear friend pass down her son's clothes and a few toys to me.  It was a life saver and to this day I'm still not sure she realizes what a help it was to us and how much I appreciated it.  I try to do the same now if I know of a family who is struggling.

  • Jen Marshall Duncan
    December 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

    This is a really great post, Chantilly. We give to Goodwill often because they hire so many people with disabilities. My uncle has an intellectual disability and it is only through places like Goodwill, and stores like KMart, that he has been able to experience the satisfaction of having a job. But we also give to our local family resource center–a center in our neighborhood school that provides clothes, coats, etc. to families in our community. I think this is just a good reminder to everyone that there are many, many struggling families who need us to give whatever and whenever we can.

  • Chantilly Patiño
    Chantilly Patiño
    February 27, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Yes! It's so awesome when we can help directly instead of going through channels that "mark up" our donations. So glad that you had someone who could give you a hand when things were rough. :)

  • Chantilly Patiño
    Chantilly Patiño
    February 27, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I totally get that Jen. ;) More, I just want to provide an alternative idea for donating. Saw this today and it made me think about this post again…

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=101514792