Goodwill Industries, Inc., Announces ‘Merry Thriftmas’ Contest at South Papillion Retail Store

A local volunteer group approached Goodwill with the idea; if it’s successful this year, the organization may roll it out at additional locations in coming years.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 20, 2019 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., today announced “Merry Thriftmas,” a campaign that will include a contest giveaway, event and promotion that will run Dec. 1 through Dec. 14. During the two-week period, shoppers at Goodwill at 704 Gold Coast Drive in South Papillion will receive a contest entry form each time they visit the store for their chance to win one of four unique prizes.

“We had a family come to us and ask if they could decorate our four display windows at the South Papillion store and hold a drawing for everything in the windows,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations for Goodwill in the Omaha metro area. “The family has recruited additional volunteers in the Papillion area, and collectively, we call them the Goodwill Elves.”

The concept is this: The Goodwill Elves developed a theme for each window, and they’ve been scouring Goodwill for the perfect decorations and items, which they purchase and donate for each theme. The Elves are also visiting Papillion businesses for donations of new items for the windows, and Goodwill is donating items for each window.

On Nov. 17, the Goodwill Elves covered the display windows at the South Papillion store with gift wrap and went to work building their window themes. On Dec. 1 at 3 p.m., Goodwill is hosting a Merry Thriftmas Unveiling Event, where the Goodwill Elves will “unwrap” the four windows. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 14, shoppers at the South Papillion store will receive entry tickets that they can drop into the coordinating box for the window they’d like to win. On Dec. 14, the Goodwill Elves will draw a winner for each window during a Facebook Live event.Merry Thriftmas

“Santa Claus will be at the unveiling event, and the Goodwill Elves are currently trying to secure donations of milk, cookies and hot chocolate for the event,” said Goodwill CEO Mike McGinnis. “We want this to be a fun event for the Papillion community, and the whole community is invited.”

“What’s really great about this contest is the winners win everything in their window,” Ellis said. “The furniture, the lights and decorations, all of the gifts — everything. I know our Goodwill customers will be excited about this contest, and if it’s successful, we’re talking about doing ‘Merry Thriftmas’ at more of our stores next year and in the years after.”

For more information about “Merry Thriftmas” and updates about the Dec. 1 unveiling event, please visit, and watch Goodwill Omaha’s social media for the most up-to-date information.


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


For Information, Contact:
Amy Goldyn, Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa
[email protected]



Employment Ready Helps Students Find Business Casual Attire

Employment Ready Helps Students Find Business Casual Attire 

During the last week of March, Megan Sharpe, Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready Manager, received a phone call from Rebecca Dunn who teaches at Ralston High School. Dunn is currently teaching a Future Teacher Internship program. The class focuses on preparing students for future interviews and internships. Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready program was asked to partner with the Ralston High School class to provide assistance in how to choose appropriate attire for interviews and internships.

Teaming Up

Sharpe met with the class on April 16 to share how Employment Ready provides free one-on-one job readiness services to those unemployed or underemployed in the Omaha Metro.  Sharpe also spoke about proper business casual attire and how to find this clothing at our Goodwill locations. This partnership was an opportunity to educate the youth in the Ralston and Papillion community—by sharing Goodwill Omaha’s mission programs and how our retail stores support those programs.

The next day Sharpe met the Future Teacher Internship class at our Papillion retail store (84th and Giles).

Megan Sharpe Employment Ready Manager - Introduce Students to Papillion Store

Gathered in the front of the store, Sharpe took a moment to show some examples of proper business casual clothing. Among her examples was acceptable attire for a professional interview.

Example of Business Casual Denim

Megan also took time to remind students of the importance in making a great first impression during an interview. The students were encouraged to shop on their own. Sharpe and Dunn offered guidance and support—ensuring students were choosing appropriate business casual options.  

Business Casual Polka Dot Pants

Ralston Students Browsing

Students were able to find garments by category, size, and color in our Papillion retail store. This made it easy for them to build outfits that paired well with their personalities.

Ralston Male Students Shown Examples of Business Casual Shirts

Ralston Students Share Finds

Interview Ready

Finally, all 17 of the Future Teacher Internship students walked away with business casual outfits for their upcoming interviews.

Ralston Student Checks Out

Each student was given a $20 gift card, which was provided by both Ralston High and Goodwill Omaha. This gave students the ability to find a full outfit. Also showing them how beneficial shopping at Goodwill is while on a tight budget. The students enjoyed the hunt for unique and trendy items they may not have normally found at other retailers. While using the provided gift cards, students were educated on how donating and shopping at Goodwill Omaha supports our mission programs such as Employment Ready.

Ralston Students All Found Outfits


Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist