Goodwill Omaha Asks Customers to ‘Round Up’ for CUES Schools

All three schools offer summer enrichment for students affected by remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

OMAHA, Neb., June 2, 2021 — For students across the nation, remote learning due to COVID-19-related school closures brought learning challenges, but the most significant has been academic learning loss. McKinsey & Company estimates that pure and hybrid remote-learning environments put U.S. students behind an average of seven months from where they would be if they’d been learning in the classroom[1]. Even more alarming: McKinsey estimates students of color suffered more significant learning loss than white children — as much as 9.2 months for Hispanic students and 10.3 months for Black students.

To help Omaha’s children in low-income homes catch up, Goodwill Omaha’s retail stores are rounding up for the CUES School System throughout the month of June, with all donations supporting its “Summer of Learning” program. Through June 30, customers at all Goodwill Omaha locations can round their purchase amounts to the next dollar — or higher — and Goodwill Omaha will donate all of the rounded-up money to the CUES School System.

This summer, CUES Schools — which comprises Sacred Heart, All Saints, and Holy Name schools — is proposing a bold idea to our community: For the first time, all three east Omaha schools are offering summer programming to help students maintain and improve on academics, social and emotional learning, and enrichment opportunities. By keeping students connected to their schools during the summer months, CUES hopes to continue its mission of providing quality education to students while supporting families in need.

“Summer enrichment will provide our children with an opportunity to be with friends in a safe environment, while improving upon their language and math scores and engaging in STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] activities,” said Fr. David Korth, president, CUES School System. “We are calling it ‘summer enrichment’ instead of summer school because the programming includes field trips and STEAM-related activities, which most of our students have not been part of for over a year.

“With the closure of community programs due to the pandemic,” Korth continued, “our children are eager to experience learning activities with their friends in a face-to-face environment. We’re extremely grateful that Goodwill selected our schools for its quarterly round-it-up campaign.”

The CUES “Summer of Learning” program will be offered at no cost to families with students at a CUES school. The main hope for the program is to provide not only education but also support for children who are having a tough time emotionally. The social interactions with their friends will help them catch up on social and emotional skills.

“The pandemic has affected people in many ways,” Korth said. “School is a place for academic growth, and it’s also a place to learn about relationships with friends and family. We teach children how to get along with others and how to properly handle situations when they don’t get along. We’ve seen that in-person classroom learning is something we truly need and that remote learning doesn’t work for every child.”

CUES has issued an appeal to the community to raise $100,000 to fund its “Summer of Learning” program, and Goodwill Omaha hopes the round-it-up campaign can help the organization get closer to its goal.

Early research suggests that pandemic-related academic learning loss could cause the average K–12 student to lose up to $82,000 in earnings throughout their lifetime. “We believe it’s crucial to the future success and well-being of our community for students to have access to high-quality learning opportunities this summer, so they have the chance to catch up,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “To us, it makes sense to support education, and the CUES School System is certainly a worthy cause.”

 

About CUES School System

The CUES School System is a bold educational initiative providing centralized leadership and governance to three urban elementary schools in Omaha, Nebraska, serving a majority of low-income students and families. We combine innovative instructional methods with comprehensive student and family support in a Catholic faith-based environment to create and sustain excellent and measurable outcomes that benefit not only the students we serve but also the entire community.

For more information about the CUES “Summer of Learning” program and appeal, please visit CUESSchools.org/summer-appeal.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Rockville, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

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[1] “COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime.” By Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg. McKinsey & Company. June 1, 2020. McKinsey.com.

Goodwill Omaha Holds Belated Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening for Its Canfield’s Plaza Stores

The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but the community is invited to celebrate this year.

OMAHA, Neb., May 12, 2021 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa (Goodwill Omaha), is gearing up for a grand opening event — one that was planned for a year ago but which became one more event “canceled due to COVID-19.” Now, nearing the anniversary of opening the Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center and the GoodBytes computer store at 8457 West Center Road, in Canfield’s Plaza, the stores will get the celebration they deserve. On Friday, May 14, from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m., the community can check out Goodwill’s newest locations at a first-anniversary grand opening event.

Around this time last year, many businesses in the Omaha metro area, including Goodwill, were beginning to reopen after temporarily closing due to COVID-19. Most people in the community were relieved to see this, but Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha, might have felt the waves of relief even more than most.

“I was so nervous that we were putting all this work and money into the stores in Canfield’s Plaza but might not be able to open them on time,” Ellis said.

In December 2019, Goodwill Omaha purchased the building where Canfield’s Sporting Goods resided for 71 years, intending to make a new home for its store at 8310 Spring Street and build out a larger space for its GoodBytes store, which was located at 72nd and F streets.

The Canfield’s Plaza space also houses a training room for Goodwill’s Work Experience program, which helps high school students with disabilities gain exposure to work situations in a supportive environment to prepare them for the transition from an educational setting to the working world.

Construction on the building was underway when Goodwill Omaha temporarily closed all locations on March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Although the opening of the stores wasn’t delayed, the grand opening celebration we had planned was canceled,” Ellis said. “A large grand opening event could have become crowded, and our leadership team wanted to keep Goodwill employees, program participants and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Safety is still our priority, so we’re doing a scaled-down version of our usual grand openings, but with the COVID vaccine widely available, people want to get out of the house, and this is something we can hold outdoors.”

The day will start with a ribbon-cutting at 8:45 a.m., just before the stores open, followed by a live iHeartRadio remote at 11 a.m. hosted by Steve Lundy from the KAT 103.7, raffle drawings every hour, free lunch, and face-painting and balloon animals by Loli Pop dah Clown.

Job seekers will also want to attend the festivities, as Goodwill Omaha is holding a hiring event in the store’s upper level, and representatives from Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program will also be on-site. Employment Solutions offers job training, certification and placement for anyone in the community who’s looking for a job.

“These stores are really beautiful, and we’re excited to be able to invite the community to celebrate them with us, even if it’s a year later,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “We want this to be an event that the community and our neighbors in the area enjoy and that gives them a chance to become reacquainted with Goodwill if they aren’t already.”

Goodwill Omaha Grand Opening at Canfield’s Plaza Event Schedule

Friday, May 14, 2021 | 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. Ribbon-cutting
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Goodwill Omaha hiring event, Second Floor
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stores open
10 a.m. First raffle drawing
11 a.m. Raffle drawing
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. iHeart live remote hosted by Steve Lundy, the KAT 103.7
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch served, parking lot (hot dogs, water, chips and cookies)
12 p.m. Raffle drawing
1 p.m. Raffle drawing
2 p.m. Raffle drawing
3 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Loli Pop dah Clown, Face painting, candy, and balloon animals
5 p.m. Final raffle drawing

We’re Hiring, and New Employees Could Earn Hiring Bonuses of up to $1,500

Amid service-industry labor shortages, Goodwill has an unusual number of jobs available. 

Jobless claims, which hovered just below 600,000 last week, are the lowest since early 2020, and economists forecast that around 977,500 jobs were added last month, yet businesses in service industries report they’re struggling to fill jobs. That’s why Goodwill  Omaha is unveiling a campaign to encourage job seekers to apply, and new employees hired during the campaign time frame could earn hiring bonuses of up to $1,500.

Goodwill Omaha straddles two industries encountering labor shortages — retail and human services — causing an inordinate number of open positions right now, although the organization’s retail sales are strong. The hiring bonuses will range from $250 for part-time cashier and custodian positions to $750 for full-time retail production associates to $1,500 for full-time project managers in the AbilityOne program.

“Economists are saying there could be several reasons for the labor shortage, including lingering worries about COVID-19 and child care needs,” said Erin Blackledge, director of human resources at Goodwill Omaha. “We want people in the community to know that Goodwill is a great place to work, and we’re willing to offer incentives to encourage them to apply and experience Goodwill’s culture for themselves.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring bonuses likely will be available for qualifying employees hired this month, Blackledge said, and could extend beyond that depending on the number of positions filled. “We also want job seekers to know that Goodwill has great benefits packages for both full-time and part-time employees,” she said, “and we’ve permanently waived the 60-day insurance waiting period, so employees can get coverage starting the first of the month following their start date.”

To kick off the hiring push, Blackledge and Goodwill Omaha’s HR team are preparing for a week of hiring events, which will start on May 10. Each event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., although at different locations throughout the Omaha metro. Job seekers will be able to apply and interview for positions on the spot.

“We coordinate and host hiring events every week for our business partners, so we know they’re effective,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “It seems natural to have them ourselves when we have an unusual number of open positions. Hiring events also might be preferable for people who want to avoid a lengthy hiring process or don’t want to wait several days between the time they apply and the time they’re called for an interview.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring events will take place May 10 through 14 at the following locations:

  • Monday, May 10, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Omaha Headquarters, 4805 N 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68134
  • Tuesday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Panera Bread, 8650 S 71st Street, Ste A, Omaha, NE 68133
  • Wednesday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 2211 Capehart Rd, #107, Bellevue, NE 68123
  • Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 11975 Blondo Street, Omaha, NE 68164
  • Friday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 8457 W. Center Road, 2nd Floor, Omaha, NE 68124

For more information about Goodwill’s hiring bonuses and events, benefits, and qualifying positions, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org/hiring.

Goodwill Holds Date Night Challenge Contest for Valentine’s Day

And date night can be at home this year!

In September 2015, two Florida couples set out to create a unique date night experience, and the first (known) #GoodwillDateNight was born. Their story gained the attention of national media, and Goodwill organizations throughout the country started encouraging their shoppers and fans to try it. Couples started challenging other couples to do their own Goodwill date night. It didn’t take long before someone, somewhere, decided #GoodwillDateNight should be a contest for Valentine’s Day. This year, Goodwill Omaha is challenging their fans in Omaha and surrounding communities to take the Goodwill date night challenge, and those who do could win a valuable prize package.

“The Goodwill date night challenge was something I read about I started working at Goodwill, and it sounded like fun, so I wanted to try it here,” said Amy Goldyn, director of marketing and public relations at Goodwill Omaha. “We held the first contest last year, but we didn’t have much of a budget to promote it, so we didn’t get many entries. This year, we have the advertising budget, and we’re promoting it. Our influencer partner, Gina Melton from KAT 103.7 has even talked about it on the morning show. We really want to see people enter and get creative with it.”

The idea is this: You and your co-contestants visit a Goodwill Omaha store to shop for outfits for each other. The budget is $10 per outfit. You can go for glamour, with formal gowns and suits, or you might choose to look for pieces that would make the most hideous outfit you can find. Or, like the couples in Florida, you might incorporate a little of both. Then, you go on a date. In public. And be sure to take photos or video while you’re out.

“We’ve modified the contest this year for COVID-19, since we want everyone to stay safe,” Goldyn said. “If you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day this year, a ‘date night’ at home still qualifies for the contest. Typically, the contest is open to couples or pairs of friends, but this year, we opened the contest to families and small groups of friends as well, and the prize package accounts for that.”

Goodwill Omaha sweetened the prize package this year by inviting select local business sponsors to contribute to the package, which includes a gift certificate to Brother Sebastian’s Steak House & Winery, a Wilma & Rose gift basket of hand-selected items, Coca-Cola merchandise and more.

To enter, contestants must post photos or video from their shopping trip and date night to Facebook or Instagram using #GoodwillDateNightOmaha. Goldyn said that most of the time, people taking a date night challenge snap photos wearing their Goodwill garb in front of a Goodwill store. With the pandemic and winter weather, she and her team worried people might not want to do that.

“Our graphics designer had the idea to make and give away selfie paddles, and she came up with a great design,” Goldyn said. “She talked to a manager at Lowe’s, and he gave us a few hundred paint stirrers to use for the handles. Contestants can find the selfie paddles at our regular retail stores in Omaha, Bellevue, Blair, Council Bluffs, Gretna, Fremont and Papillion. Most of the stores have them near the dressing rooms.”

Goodwill Omaha is accepting entries to the #GoodwillDateNightOmaha challenge through Feb. 14, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Goldyn said all eligible entries will be entered in the contest, and her team will use a randomizer to select the winner, which she expects to announce by Feb. 21.

For more information about the #GoodwillDateNightOmaha challenge, how to enter and contest rules, visit GoodwillOmaha.org/love.

Goodwill Shoppers ‘Round Up’ $16,500 for Local United Way Organizations

Goodwill Omaha is donating the funds to United Way of the Midlands and the Fremont Area United Way.

L-R: Melanie Moyer, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations, Goodwill Omaha; Shantel Featherson, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Tobi Mathouser, president & CEO, Goodwill Omaha; Danielle Ohlman, director of volunteer engagement, United Way of the Midlands

Once again, Goodwill Omaha’s shoppers have demonstrated their goodwill by rounding up their purchases at Goodwill stores and donating a total of $16,500 to two local United Way organizations. The money will be used for United Way relief efforts for people affected by COVID-19.

Throughout November and December, Goodwill Omaha stores held the annual “Round It Up for United Way” campaign to raise money for United Way of the Midlands (UWM) and the Fremont Area United Way. This week, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO, Tobi Mathouser, presented checks to the organizations. Goodwill stores in Fremont and Blair raised $1,500 for the Fremont Area United Way, and Goodwill’s stores in UWM’s territory raised $15,000 for the organization.

“We want to be good stewards of the communities we serve, and a significant way we can do that is to help other organizations that can help people in other ways than Goodwill does,” Mathouser said. “COVID-19 has caused struggles for so many people, and it seems like everyone’s needs are unique. The best way we can help is by sponsoring a campaign like this. And, our customers have proven their generosity time and time again by donating when we hold these campaigns.”

Mathouser said she also wants the community to remember that Goodwill Omaha is here to help. “COVID job losses have been devastating for some people in our communities, and that’s where we can directly help. Our Employment Solutions program is free to anyone and can offer valuable assistance in your job search. We offer skills training, CNA certification classes, résumé help, job search assistance and job placement services. I invite anyone who’s having difficulty finding a job to contact our Employment Solutions team and find out about this program.”

Mathouser said that anyone interested in Employment Solutions can find information at GoodwillOmaha.org/EmploymentSolutions, or contact Sarah Alba, Goodwill Employment Solutions coordinator, at 402 951 2919 or [email protected].

People in Nebraska and Iowa who need other types of assistance due to COVID-19 can call the Nebraska/Iowa 211 Helpline or visit the helpline’s website at UnitedWayMidlands.org/2-1-1. In the Blair and Fremont communities, contact the Fremont Area United Way by visiting FremontUnitedWay.org or calling 402 721 4157.

Girl Scout’s ‘Merry Thriftmas’ Project Finds a Home at Goodwill for Second Year

The festive window displays hearken back to grand department-store windows of the past, but there’s more to this story.

Goodwill Omaha is honored to sponsor Merry Thriftmas, a community project designed to give back to those in need, for the second year. The project is the concept of Madison Eisert, a Papillion La Vista South high school sophomore working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award, and is on display through Dec. 18 at the South Papillion Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center near 90th Street and Highway 310.

“For years, our family has loved shopping at Goodwill throughout the seasons and for every occasion,” Eisert said. “Everything from school supplies, wedding presents, homecoming dresses, prom gowns and especially holiday gifts.

<img src="IMG_0675.png" alt="Madison Eisert sits in front of a fireplace constructed of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies">

Madison Eisert shows off one of her Merry Thriftmas window displays at Goodwill Omaha’s store in South Papillion. The exhibit will be up through Dec. 18.

“The holiday season should be a time filled with magic and celebrating,” she continued. “Sadly, though, it can bring unhappiness, stress and financial burdens — especially this year. By forming and leading a team of volunteers I affectionately refer to as ‘Goodwill Elves,’ we planned to shop and find treasures in nearly every Goodwill aisle to put in the window displays. These items will then be given to families in need to help fulfill their wish lists and bring them joy.”

For a time, it looked like Merry Thriftmas was destined to become another of this year’s many cancellations due to the novel coronavirus.

“Since we reopened after closing for COVID-19, we’ve been focused on keeping our customers, donors, participants and employees safe and minimizing everyone’s risk of exposure,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “Madison did an incredible job on the windows last year, and we wanted to host the project again, but we also had to assess potential risks. So, we’d eventually decided not to do it this year.”

Eisert is tenacious, though, and she wanted to find a way to continue the project. She went back to the Goodwill Omaha team with a revised project plan: Eisert proposed decorating two windows instead of four — she’d need fewer Elves to help decorate, and they could dress the windows while Goodwill’s retail team finished their closing duties.

“Madison has grit, and we certainly appreciate that,” Ellis said. “I’m glad she found a way to make the project work. We’d like people to start thinking of stopping at a Goodwill Omaha store when they’re shopping for the holidays — you’d be surprised at how many brand-new items we receive in our donations. Anything from luxury sheet sets and pajama sets to gadgets, artwork and home décor — all donated new with the tags or new in the box. No one would even know it came from Goodwill.”

In fact, Accenture’s 2019 annual holiday shopping survey revealed that 48% of Americans said they would give a thrifted item as a gift, and a whopping 56% said they would welcome thrifted gifts for themselves. This year, with so many people experiencing hardship and loss due to the pandemic, thrift-store and secondhand shopping are on the rise and likely to include holiday gift shopping.

<img src="Merry Thriftmas Fireplace.png" alt="Fireplace mantle with Merry Thriftmas spelled out in decorative, festive letters">“Madison’s plan worked out really well, and the windows are just beautiful again this year,” Ellis said. “I hope people will stop by to see the Merry Thriftmas windows at our South Papillion store and maybe consider stopping in there or at one of our other stores. It doesn’t cost anything to browse, and they might be surprised at the number of great deals they find.”

Eisert also applied for a volunteer service grant, which Booz Allen Hamilton awarded to her to help with the cost of the items and decorations in the windows.

“I’m so thankful to Booz Allen Hamilton for their generous donation,” Eisert said. “Because of their support, the holiday season will be a lot brighter and more joyful for families in need. I would encourage everyone in our community to take the time to celebrate the true meaning of the season by giving of themselves and showing compassion for others.”

And the future of Merry Thriftmas once Eisert earns her Girl Scout Gold Award?

“Goodwill would still like to explore expanding the Merry Thriftmas project in the future,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “We’d like to get businesses in the community involved and donate all the items in the windows to local families in need. We have some logistics to work out, but we’d really like to make the project a holiday tradition for Goodwill Omaha and everyone in the community.”

Residents in Papillion and surrounding communities can see Eisert’s holiday window creation through Dec. 18 at the Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center at 704 W. Gold Coast Drive in Papillion. For more information, photos and video, click here.

Goodwill Omaha Is ‘Rounding Up’ for Local United Ways

Goodwill shoppers can donate their change to help others in the community who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 24, 2020 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, is pleased to announce that its retail stores are raising money for two local United Way organizations to help people in the area who have been affected by COVID-19. The “Round It Up for United Way” campaign is raising awareness and money to support United Way of the Midlands (UWM) and the Fremont Area United Way in their efforts to help people in Omaha and surrounding communities.

The campaign kicked off on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, allowing shoppers at Goodwill retail stores to choose to “round up” their purchase totals to the next dollar when they check out. Round-it-up donations at Goodwill Omaha’s stores in Fremont and Blair will be donated to the Fremont Area United Way, and donations made at the other Goodwill locations will be donated to United Way of the Midlands.

“This year has been tough for most people, but it’s been especially difficult for those who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “So many people lost jobs, either permanently or temporarily, in March, when many businesses had to close due to COVID. Several months later, some people who were furloughed or expected their layoffs to be temporary learned their positions were eliminated because employers experienced financial and economic losses due to COVID.”

UWM reports that, since March, the Nebraska/Iowa 211 Helpline has experienced a 142% increase in call volumes over last year, despite the high volumes the Helpline saw during the floods in spring 2019. As many people know, COVID-19 created an entirely new set of challenges, which United Way organizations are trying to keep up with.

For example, UWM modified its community investment process to quickly move dollars to programs that meet the community’s most pressing needs and to better respond to the community’s rapidly evolving needs.

“Goodwill holds campaigns like this throughout the year to benefit other nonprofits in our communities. It’s a way we can give back to the communities and partners who show so much support for Goodwill and our employment programs,” Mathouser continued. “Our shoppers tend to be very generous, and our round-it-up campaigns can raise a surprising amount of money. We love doing it. To us, giving back is just part of what it means to be a good steward of the community.”

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has served the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro for more than 95 years. Guided by best practices and community input, it approaches poverty in a specific way — a “united” way. With the support of volunteers, community partners and donors, UWM invests donor dollars efficiently and effectively in our local community. These dollars fund basic needs, education and financial stability programs at local nonprofits, creating a circle of support for people in need. Please visit unitedwaymidlands.org for more information.

 

About the Fremont Area United Way

The Fremont Area United Way works to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. Our vision for the Fremont area is to create solutions to community issues where we can make a difference, such as school readiness. We hope you want to be a part of the change. We think we can do more together than any of us can do alone. This is what it means to “Live United.” Learn more at FremontUnitedWay.org.

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Goodwill Shoppers ‘Round Up’ $10,000 for Food Bank for the Heartland

The community showed tremendous generosity to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodwill Omaha, Food Bank for the Heartland

Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO, signs a big check for $10,000, the total amount donated by Goodwill customers over the past two months for Food Bank for the Heartland.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 11, 2020 — Amid the financial and job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Bank for the Heartland has seen an estimated 40% increase in need among communities in Nebraska and Iowa over the past five months. But the generosity of Goodwill Omaha shoppers is making it a bit easier for the food bank to provide nutritious foods to those in need. At the end of its two-month “Round It Up for Food Bank for the Heartland” campaign, Goodwill Omaha had accepted approximately $9,800 in donations from customers who had rounded their purchases to the next dollar, and many donated additional sums. Goodwill Omaha topped off the amount to make it an even $10,000.

Representatives from Goodwill delivered the check to Food Bank for the Heartland yesterday.

“COVID-19 has forced thousands of Nebraska and Iowa families into a situation they never imagined, seeking food assistance for the very first time,” said Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “The funds raised from Goodwill’s customers will greatly assist us in providing critical meals to children, families and seniors struggling with food insecurity. We are grateful for the support from Goodwill Omaha and supporters across the Heartland.”

From March 15 to June 30, 2020, Food Bank for the Heartland distributed 7,510,900 meals and 11,633,012 meals when including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is a 61% percent increase over the average number of meals distributed during the same period in 2018 and 2019.

The current instability of the economy and job market continues to leave families feeling like their futures are in limbo.

Goodwill Omaha, Food Bank for the Heartland

Pictured from left to right: Melanie Moyer, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO, Goodwill Omaha; Brian Barks, president and CEO, Food Bank for the Heartland; Shantel Featherson, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha.

“What we’re starting to see happen now is that some people who were laid off with the expectation of returning to their jobs are finding out that their jobs are permanently eliminated  because companies haven’t rebounded as they’d hoped they would,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “We’ve also seen many restaurants, bars and other small businesses that were closed for so long they can’t afford to reopen. The situation is serious for so many people in our communities.

Mathouser said that Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program is designed to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages get the job training, skills, certification, placement and retention services they need to find independence and success through work. She pointed out that Employment Solutions participants don’t need to be disabled or disadvantaged; the program is available to anyone in the community.

To learn more about the program, job seekers just have to complete the Employment Solutions application on the Goodwill Omaha website or visit Goodwill Omaha’s headquarters at 4805 N. 72nd Street in Omaha and ask to speak with someone from the Employment Solutions team.

 

About Food Bank for the Heartland (A Member of Feeding America)

Food Bank for the Heartland is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Omaha, Nebraska that acts as a central clearinghouse distributing food to nearly 600 network partners across 77 counties in Nebraska and 16 counties in western Iowa. Food Bank for the Heartland distributed more than 28 million meals in FY 2020, helping thousands of children, families, seniors, veterans and others in need. For more information, visit www.FoodBankHeartland.org.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

 

Goodwill, Max I. Walker Team Up Again — This Time To Provide Sleepers for a Local NICU

More than 60 sleepers are headed to Methodist Women’s Hospital.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 7, 2020 — In late July, Sarah Jane Geilenkirchen, a nursing assistant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist Women’s Hospital, posted a request to a Facebook group: “I’m looking for some help. I work in the NICU, and we are running out of sleepers for these littles.”

Her request was well-received. “I belong to a moms group on Facebook,” Geilenkirchen said. “I saw they were doing great things in the community, so I asked the group if they would consider donating some sleepers. It is an item that we are always in need of in the NICU.”

The Methodist Women’s Hospital NICU is a 51-bed unit staffed by a highly specialized neonatal team. The NICU is designated a Level III unit — the highest level of care in west Omaha. Since opening in 2010, the NICU has cared for more than 6,600 babies.

Representatives from Goodwill Omaha, Max I. Walker and Methodist Women’s Hospital show off some of the sleepers donated to the NICU.

When Max I. Walker saw the request on Facebook, they immediately thought of their recent collaborator on a similar effort: Goodwill Industries, Inc. (Goodwill Omaha).

“The response was pretty amazing,” Geilenkirchen said. “Then, to see Max I. Walker and Goodwill step up as well … it’s just incredible.”

“We teamed up with Goodwill in April to donate scrubs to the Creighton medical scrub drive, and it was a really positive experience,” said Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker, “so, it was natural to think of them for the NICU sleepers. Our marketing teams got together and were able to put a plan into action very quickly.”

Max I. Walker and Goodwill managed the donation project the same way they did the scrub drive donation: Goodwill’s retail operations team gathered all the sleepers in preemie and newborn sizes from its stores, Max I. Walker laundered and bundled the sleepers, and members of the two organizations delivered the freshly cleaned sleepers to Methodist Women’s Hospital on Aug. 7. In total, they donated and cleaned more than 60 sleepers.

“It was easier for our team this time because our stores are open now, and they weren’t in April,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “So, instead of the three members

of our retail operations team driving across the metro area to all of our stores and searching for the items, they contacted each store’s manager and asked them to collect the sleepers in their stores and send them on one of our trucks to our retail operations center.”

As longtime pillars of the community, Max I. Walker and Goodwill Omaha frequently lead initiatives to give back to the community, and they seem to be well-matched partners in these efforts.

Goodwill’s marketing director worked on Max I. Walker’s account at an advertising agency several years ago and knew a lot about the company and their social good activities. “We’re excited to have found such a willing and generous ally in Max I. Walker,” Mathouser said. “Goodwill’s mission is to give back to the community in the form of our employment services, but it’s always fun to find new ways to do good. I think we have the potential to do a lot of good as a team.”

“The Omaha community has supported our business for more than a century, and we do believe in showing our appreciation by supporting the community right back,” Walker said. “It’s something we look forward to. With the pandemic, there’s a lot of need in the metro area on so many levels. We want to help in the best ways we can, and Goodwill’s objectives align with ours. I think the community will see more of these types of efforts from our organizations now that we’ve gotten to know one another a little bit.”

Geilenkirchen said the sleepers will certainly keep babies in the NICU comfortable, but they’ll also bring comfort to the families, who typically spend as much time as they can at the hospital with their babies. “For families in the NICU, it can be such a lonesome time” Geilenkirchen said. “Something as simple as a sleeper provides them with some normalcy. Having a sleeper allows the families to participate in the care of their baby. It’s such a simple thing, but it means so much to them.”

In April, Creighton School of Medicine student organizers of a scrub drive contacted Goodwill Omaha asking for scrub donations for frontline workers at CHI’s Bergen Mercy Hospital.  launching the nonprofit’s collaboration with Max I. Walker. Together, they donated more than 350 pairs of clean scrubs to the drive.

 

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 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.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild

AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

 

 

Goodwill Rounds Up More Than $6,000 for Food Bank

The “round it up” campaign lasts through July 15, so metro-area shoppers still have time to donate.

OMAHA, Neb., June 29, 2020 — On March 23, Goodwill Industries, Inc., (Goodwill Omaha) temporarily shut down its retail stores, donation centers, and employment training and placement services due to COVID-19. When the organization reopened eight weeks later, the staff wanted to run a “round it up” campaign effort to help people in the community who’d been affected by job losses and other difficulties. They chose Food Bank for the Heartland, and since Goodwill Omaha reopened on May 15, its retail customers have donated more than $6,150 by rounding up their purchases at the register.

“We believe in giving back to the community, especially at a time when so many people have been affected by COVID-19 and need help,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and chief operating officer at Goodwill Omaha. “So many have been hit hard by the pandemic, and even though we might not realize it, each of us probably knows someone who is food insecure. Food is essential for every single person, and we hope this donation will help those in our community who need it.”

Between now and July 15, customers at Goodwill stores can choose to “Round It Up for Food Bank of the Heartland” by rounding up their purchase totals to the next dollar at the point of sale.

“During this unprecedented time, Food Bank for the Heartland is working swiftly with our partners across Nebraska and western Iowa to provide critical meals to our neighbors struggling due to the community and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Barks, president and chief executive officer of Food Bank for the Heartland. “The need for supplemental food is higher than ever. From March 15 to May 15, the Food Bank has distributed 3,974,012 meals — well beyond our average monthly meal distribution for a two-month period of 2,790,364. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from Goodwill customers and others across the Heartland.”

“Many of our customers not only round up to the next dollar, but they also donate additional money,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “We want to help the community whenever we have the chance, and we have so many wonderful customers who feel the same. We’re very fortunate that they support us in these efforts.”

Mathouser added that the community still has time to donate to the campaign. “All of our stores are accepting round-it-up donations for two more weeks,” she said, “and our stores are having a 20% off sale on July 4, so we’re hoping to see a good amount of donations for the rest of the campaign.

“We also want to thank everyone who has contributed to this campaign,” Mathouser continued. “Round-it-up campaigns are a way that we can help make a difference, and our customers traditionally are very generous in giving. Sponsoring a campaign like this one is a small way we can do our part to help the people in our community.”

Goodwill shoppers who want to contribute to the “Round It Up for Food Bank of the Heartland” campaign can do so at the time of checkout at any Goodwill Omaha location through July 15.

 

About Food Bank for the Heartland (A Member of Feeding America)

Food Bank for the Heartland is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Omaha, Nebraska that acts as a central clearinghouse distributing food to nearly 600 network partners across 77 counties in Nebraska and 16 counties in western Iowa. Food Bank for the Heartland distributed more than 22 million meals in FY 2019, helping thousands of children, families, seniors, veterans and others in need. For more information, visit www.FoodBankHeartland.org.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know that our mission is the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, find independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.