Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

New COVID-19 Procedures & Precautions in Effect at All Goodwill Omaha Locations

At Goodwill Omaha, we carefully consider the health of our employees, program participants, customers, donors and the community in general. We also take the spread of the novel coronavirus seriously, and we want to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus at every one of our locations.

Goodwill Omaha has implemented the following processes and procedures — based on best practices from Goodwill Industries International, other Goodwill affiliate organizations and the National Retail Federation — at all of our retail stores and donation centers:

  1. We have employees assigned to sanitizing carts.
  2. Operating hours at all locations are temporarily reduced to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
  3. Every employee has been instructed to stay home if they:
    • Have any symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
    • Live with anyone who has been suspected of having or diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Have been exposed to anyone who is suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19

Each employee has signed an agreement stating that they will review the symptom and exposure checklist before every shift and report to their manager if they are experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed. In either case, the manager will send the employee home.

  1. All Goodwill employees are wearing masks and gloves at all times in our stores and donation centers.
  2. Employees are sanitizing high-traffic areas every two hours, and our cleaning crew is performing additional sanitizing and deep cleaning at all stores.
  3. Regular announcements over the PA systems remind customers to social distance and give each other some extra space.
  4. We’ve installed clear acrylic dividers at the registers and jewelry counters to protect customers and employees in areas where social distancing is impossible or impractical.
  5. Our fitting rooms are temporarily closed. We understand this may be inconvenient for our customers, so we’ll grant store credit for returns of clothing items with the tags attached and the receipt for an additional seven days beyond our regular return policy.
  6. Signage reminding everyone to social distance at least 6 feet is posted throughout the stores and on floor decals at the registers.
  7. Our donation centers have implemented no-contact donations. Donors can either put their donations in the bins we have set out, or stay in their car and our team will unload donations from the trunk.
  8. Our donation centers are holding all donations for a minimum of 24 hours before they’ll be put out on the shelves.

Additional Precautions at the Goodwill Wearhouse Only

The following are additional precautions we are enforcing at the Goodwill Wearhouse near 72nd & F streets:

  1. Customers also must wear masks and gloves the entire time they’re in the store.
  2. No one under the age of 16 is allowed in the Wearhouse until further notice.

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Goodwill, Max I. Walker Team Up To Provide Medical Scrubs for Creighton Health Care Workers

They’ll deliver more than 375 pairs of scrubs to Creighton on Wednesday.

L-R: Casey Walker (Max I. Walker), Janelle Ellis (Goodwill), Melanie Moyer (Goodwill)

OMAHA, Neb., April 10, 2020 — When Creighton University School of Medicine students contacted Goodwill Industries, Inc. (Goodwill Omaha), asking if the nonprofit organization’s thrift stores had any medical scrubs on the racks that they could spare, staff from Goodwill Omaha and local dry cleaner Max I. Walker jumped into action.

“Our stores are temporarily closed right now due to the coronavirus threat, so our retail operations team went store to store and collected every piece of scrubs they could find,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and COO at Goodwill Omaha. “They found more than 375 pairs of scrubs.”

The donation is for a medical scrub drive that Creighton’s medical students are holding to collect the garments and donate them to health care workers at CHI’s Bergen Mercy.

“There is an increased demand for scrubs at the hospitals due to heightened precautions for doctors and nurses to be able to decontaminate themselves as they travel to and from home and the hospital,” said Adrienne Pyle, a third-year medical student at Creighton School of Medicine and drive’s organizer. “With these extra scrubs, the medical professionals will be able to decontaminate themselves with frequent scrub changes and thereby keep their patients and own families safe.”

Next, Goodwill needed a partner to launder the scrubs for the health care workers. They found one in local dry cleaner Max I. Walker.

“We’re committed to giving back to the community that’s supported us for more than 100 years, so when we got the call, this was something we really wanted to do,” said Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker. “With the current pandemic, health care workers are on the frontlines, and if we could help them, we absolutely wanted to.”

L-R: Janelle Ellis (Goodwill), Shantel Featherson (Goodwill), Casey Walker (Max I. Walker)

This afternoon, Goodwill dropped off the scrubs at the Max I. Walker location in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where Walker’s team will launder them. On Wednesday, April 15, Goodwill and Max I. Walker’s retail operations teams will pick up the scrubs in Council Bluffs and deliver them to Creighton for distribution to Bergen Mercy doctors and nurses.

“With COVID-19 cases continuing to pop up, the medical staff is going through many more pairs of scrubs,” said Pyle said. “We were amazed at how quickly these two businesses were able to collect scrubs and coordinate laundering of them. We are incredibly grateful to Goodwill and to Max I. Walker, as are the doctors and nurses at Bergen. They have gone above and beyond in organizing this effort, and they’ve shown a genuine desire to help. We are so thankful to both.”

The Creighton medical scrub drive runs through April 25. Blue and green scrubs are preferred, and patterned scrubs are also accepted. Pyle asks that scrubs are washed prior to donation, and donors have two drop-off option, or they may request pickup:

About Max I. Walker Dry Cleaning & Laundry
Max I. Walker Cleaners & Launderers was founded by Max I. Walker on March 17, 1917. Over the past 103 years, it has grown into a company with hundreds of employees serving customers at 22 locations in Omaha, Elkhorn, Papillion and Bellevue, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Today — five generations later — Max I. Walker remains family owned and operated. In addition to dry cleaning services, Max I. Walker offers a Wash & Fold Laundry Service for all laundry items, and a free pickup and delivery service from home or office. As the proud recipient of Best of Omaha 1st Place for Dry Cleaning in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Max I. Walker is Omaha’s Favorite Dry Cleaner.

Max I. Walker is committed to serving the communities that support us — we wouldn’t be here without them — and we seek out opportunities to give back by supporting local media, small businesses and charitable organizations. We also hold an annual fundraising event, the Ultra Chic Boutique dress sale, which benefits the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association. For more information, visit MaxIWalker.com.

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, has been a leader in helping people fulfill their dreams through work since 1933. Our mission is to train and employ people with disabilities and others who may be at a competitive disadvantage in the job market. We do this by selling value-priced merchandise at 17 locations throughout the Omaha metro area.

Although many people know Goodwill as a place to donate used clothing and household items, they may not realize that their donations sold in our retail stores fund programs that give thousands of formerly unemployed individuals the opportunity to earn a living and the chance to succeed in life. Goodwill provides opportunities for individuals with barriers to self-sufficiency through a variety of job opportunities and employment programs, including AbilityOne, YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience.

Goodwill is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 agency governed by a local board of trustees and a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs for people with severe disabilities at federal facilities. Goodwill is accredited by CARF, the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission. Learn more at GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

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Goodwill Asks Community to Hold Donations

Goodwill Omaha is asking for the assistance of Omaha-area communities regarding donation drop-offs at Goodwill locations. Because our Goodwill stores and donation centers are temporarily closed while the threat of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 is high, we are asking our generous donors to please hold off on dropping off donations until we reopen our donation centers.

“We want the community to know that we deeply appreciate their generosity and support; we just don’t have the resources to collect donations right now,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and chief operating officer. “This is a trying time for all of us, and for the time being, we’re operating with a limited staff. We want our employees to be safe, and that means staying home right now. The few people who are working from home are performing essential tasks while trying to clean up the piles left outside the donation centers.”

Mathouser said she’s heard many people say that they and their families are using this time at home to clean out closets, playrooms and storage areas — and collecting items to donate to Goodwill. She stressed that the organization is immensely grateful for these donations — they fund Goodwill’s employment training, certification and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. However, we’ve had problems with people dumping donations outside our donation centers, which poses public health and safety hazards, including:

  • Piles, boxes and bags attracting rodents and insects looking for places to nest
  • Rain causing mold and damage to items so we can’t sell them in our stores
  • Other people looting these donation piles
  • Items blowing away from the pile, and our properties becoming eyesores to our neighbors and the community

The citizens of Omaha and the surrounding communities have demonstrated time and again their generosity and eagerness to help Goodwill Omaha and the people we serve. Now, we ask for their cooperation in helping us control donation dumping during this unprecedented pandemic.

Once Goodwill Omaha reopens — tentatively set for April 23, depending on the coronavirus threat — our donation centers will be fully staffed and ready for high volumes of donations. We’ll also start offering our donation pickup service again, which is another option people can use. And, of course, we thank the Omaha community for their continued generosity and support of Goodwill and our mission programs.

 

 

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