In any other year, these last few weeks of summer would be spent enjoying precious time with family and getting ready for the kids to return to school.
But this year the global pandemic has closed businesses, cut jobs, paused dreams and disrupted even the most fundamental parts of our communities like sports games, church gatherings and even school.
At Goodwill Industries of North Florida, Inc., we’ve had to make some of the most difficult decisions imaginable in our organization’s 80-year history of serving this community. Yet, as we’ve seen at our 19 storefronts in 14 counties across North Florida, the kindness of our neighbors and hard work ethic of our families has never shined so brightly.
Jacksonville is strong. North Florida is strong. And together, we’re driving forward and getting through this one day at a time by following three simple principles: be kind, be safe and work hard.
At Goodwill we’re uniquely positioned to witness the amazing effects of this kindness and hard work every day, and incredibly fortunate to be able to use them to help families in need.
When you kindly donate gently used items, you become part of a powerful cycle of renewal. Donations help keep our local environment healthy, provide job skills training, place members of our communities in jobs, and increase access for families to quality, affordable clothing and household goods.
In 2019 alone, Goodwill helped fill more than 8,000 jobs in North Florida, changing lives and supporting local businesses and economies.
Shopping at Goodwill, whether online or in-store, helps continue the cycle. We are proud that 92 cents of every dollar spent at Goodwill goes right back to providing opportunities for families in our community. That means more job placements, more opportunities for mentorship and educational advancements through the Take Stock in Children partnership and our A-STEP Program, and more work we can do through our partnerships at NAS-Jacksonville and Mayport to find great jobs for persons with disabilities.
It’s not only right but essential that we continue to work together and make personal commitments so that during this unprecedented and challenging time every family can succeed. As a united community, we can make sure that our neighbors can enjoy the confidence that comes with feeling comfortable in their clothes, have opportunities to advance their education and job training to take the next life step, and be provided the ability to get a great job and provide for themselves and their loved ones.
So, let’s make a pledge to keep being kind, being safe and working hard. After all, during this “Back to School” season, it’s fitting that we continue to live by these words of advice that have been spoken to so many children on their first days of class and that have such a profound impact when put to action in North Florida.
David Rey is CEO of Goodwill Industries of North Florida