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 Omaha Receives 2020 Best of Offutt AFB Award

Offutt AFB award program honors the achievement.

OFFUTT AFB, April 29, 2020 — Today, the Offutt AFB Award Program announced that Goodwill Industries, Inc., (Goodwill Omaha) has been selected for the 2020 Best of Offutt AFB Award in the Thrift Shops category.

Each year, the Offutt AFB Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Offutt AFB area a great place to live, work and play.

“We are honored to win this recognition from Offutt Air Force Base, and we are proud to serve the brave men and women who serve at Offutt every day,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and chief operating officer at Goodwill Omaha.

Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations for Goodwill Omaha, agreed and added, “We have wonderful customers stationed at Offutt, and many become regulars in our Bellevue store. As you might imagine, transfers are common in the military; a Goodwill store might be the one thing someone in the military or their spouse feels like they know in a new city. I think they seek out the familiarity and comfortableness that Goodwill provides when they’re in a new place.

“Goodwill is perfect for individuals and families in the military,” Ellis continued. “They move around a lot, and they really become experts at purging nonessential belongings to make moves easier. When they move to a new place, they go to Goodwill for items they need at an affordable price — whether it’s a sofa, a television, or a new wardrobe for a warmer or cooler climate. And, when they transfer away from Offutt, they’re very generous in donating items they aren’t taking with them.”

Offutt AFB Award Program officials gathered and analyzed various sources of information to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Offutt AFB Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Offutt AFB Award Program and data provided by third parties.

 

About the Offutt AFB Award Program
The Offutt AFB Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Offutt AFB area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Offutt AFB Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Offutt AFB Award Program

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 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs.

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. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal Ability One 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, 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.

 

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.

 

 

Goodwill Omaha Shoppers Donate $15,000 to ‘Round It Up for United Way’

Goodwill presented the United Way with a check to benefit its Opportunity Youth program.

OMAHA, Neb., Feb. 25, 2020 — Omaha’s Goodwill Industries, Inc., has presented the United Way of the Midlands with a check for $15,000, money that Goodwill retail customers donated during the Round It Up for United Way of the Midlands, an annual donation campaign to raise awareness and

Pictured, left to right: Goodwill Omaha CEO Dr. Michael McGinnis; Linda Kizzier (Goodwill); Shantel Featherson (Goodwill); Jessica Jensen (United Way); Janelle Ellis (Goodwill); Melanie Moyer (Goodwill).

money to support United Way programs. Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, customers at Goodwill stores could choose to “round up” their purchase totals to the next dollar at the point of sale, and many donated even more. Goodwill executives and retail operations team members presented the check to United Way representative Jessica Jensen on Feb. 1.

Goodwill designated the donation for the United Way’s Opportunity Youth initiative, a collective group that works to connect youth to basic-needs services, educational opportunities and employment prospects.

“We chose to sponsor the Opportunity Youth initiative because it aligns with Goodwill’s mission to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training and work,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and chief operating officer. “All of our mission programs — Employment Solutions, YouthBuild, Work Experience and AbilityOne — offer education, training and job placement opportunities for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

“When we have the chance to take part in the Opportunity Youth Alliance and campaigns like Round It up,” Mathouser continued, “we can help more people in our community — and that’s something our employees and leadership team find exciting.”

“Our retail customers are so generous,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “They really stepped up and donated to the Round It Up campaign, which will go a long way toward helping others in our area.”

 

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 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs.

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. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal Ability One 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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Omaha’s Goodwill Industries Wins Top Award for City’s Best Thrift Store

OMAHA, Neb., Dec. 11, 2019 — In its annual Best of Omaha issue, Omaha Magazine announced that its voters chose Goodwill Industries, Inc., as the city’s first-place winner in the Best Thrift Store category.

“It’s such an honor that the Omaha community chose our stores as the best in the city,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations for Goodwill. “We’ve worked hard to improve the organization of our stores and to make sure we get donated items on the shelves right after we receive and process them, which gives our customers greater variety and helps ensure that our inventory is in constant rotation.

“Plus,” Ellis continued, “the more donated goods we sell, the more money we can invest into our community employment programs, which really are the heart of Goodwill.”

Omaha Magazine’s Best of Omaha began in 1992, and the publication takes several measures to ensure that the contest is legitimate:

  • Contest winners do not have to be advertisers, and participation is completely optional.
  • Voting is open to the entire Omaha community, regardless of whether they subscribe to the magazine.
  • Ballots are blank and ad-free, eliminating influence or bias and encouraging voters to choose businesses they truly enjoy shopping at.
  • An independent auditing firm validates the submitted voting ballots to prevent vote-stuffing and manipulation.

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 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs.

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. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal Ability One 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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Story Behind the Store – A Gender Reveal Party

 

It is not every day that Goodwill hosts a gender reveal party for an expectant mother. On March 7, 2019, that is exactly what happened at Goodwill’s WearHouse store on 72nd & F where long-term customer Arelys Sandoval revealed the gender of her next child to her family, friends and fellow shoppers.

Shantel Featherson, Goodwill’s WearHouse Manager, was honored to be part of the special occasion. “We were so excited to be part of this special moment for one of our long-time customers. We were able to help celebrate with great people, good food and games,” said Shantel. Shantel took time out of her busy day to plan the party and purchase decorations to make this day extra special for Arelys.

Shantel Featherson and Arelys Sandoval embracing during the party

Arelys’ brother, Rodrigo, introduced her to the WearHouse store over eight years ago and she has been a regular shopper ever since. The WearHouse store is a different kind of shopping experience. Items not sold at the traditional retail stores are sent to the WearHouse and most items are sold by the pound.

Arelys is a stay at home mom and sees her daily trips to Goodwill as a way to make new friends who enjoy shopping at the WearHouse as she does. Arelys says the friendly and helpful employees at Goodwill make her daily shopping there a memorable experience. “I really appreciate the environment at Goodwill, everyone is so nice!” said Arelys.

The Goodwill staff, shoppers and family members

Sandoval’s favorite things to shop for are clothes and toys for her son Ivan. A budding entrepreneur, she enjoys shopping for books that she resells on eBay and Amazon. “I always find great stuff!” said Arelys.

When asked what advice she would give people shopping at the WearHouse, she stressed the need for patience. You must dig for hidden treasures in the bins.  Arelys said, “I prefer Goodwill because of the prices. You can buy by the pound and it’s cheaper so you can get more.”

Arelys getting ready to find out the gender of her next baby

Arelys said her gender reveal party is by far the fondest memory she has of all her trips to Goodwill. The WearHouse staff looks forward to her bright, cheery and pleasant demeanor every day!
Goodwill is grateful for Arelys sharing her special day with us.

We appreciate her loyalty to Goodwill and cannot wait to meet the newest addition to her family.
Goodwill supports community needs and provides a unique shopping experience for customers like Arelys who has become a member of Goodwill’s extended family!

And the gender was… A BOY!!!

 

Supporting Communities Affected By Floods – How You Can Help

Goodwill is committed to helping our communities recover from the damage and loss of belongings caused by the recent floods. The information below explains how Goodwill, with community help, will support our surrounding communities during this time of crisis.

Salvation Army Donation Sites:

All Goodwill locations will accept donated flood relief items in support of Salvation Army’s efforts. Please bring the items listed below to your local Goodwill. Donation receipts will be given upon request. All donations collected will be transported by Goodwill to the Salvation Army for distribution.

Items specifically requested at this time:

  • Bleach
  • Work gloves
  • Rakes
  • Mops
  • Shovels
  • Buckets
  • Tarps
  • Household cleaning items

Round It Up Campaign:

Goodwill invites all customers to round up purchases to the nearest dollar, which Goodwill will use to provide needed support for communities in eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa affected by the recent flooding. All Round-It-Up donations will go directly to the Red Cross to support communities as they recover and rebuild.

Goodwill Vouchers for Affected Individuals & Families:

Beginning Friday March 15, Goodwill began issuing store vouchers to the local agencies listed below to help those affected by the flooding. Vouchers can be used to purchase needed items at any Goodwill retail location. Contact the agencies listed below to learn more about the Goodwill store voucher program. As of March 22, Goodwill has issued $24,900 in store vouchers to over 1,200 individuals working with the following agencies:

Other agencies providing relief support:

Volunteering In Our Community:

To date, Goodwill employees have collectively volunteered more than 223 hours to flood relief efforts.