Where Does My "Stuff" Go?: Goodwill Interview

Here at Ditch The Clutter, we believe that there is still life in a lot of the stuff other people are done using and we donate those items to Goodwill. But just what does that mean? We are often asked where the items go and how they are used to support the community so we turned to the source to get our questions answered.

James Harder is the Director of Communications at Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries and he was kind enough to answer our questions.

DTC: When items are dropped off at your location, where do they go? 

JH: The donations go to our distribution center at 1010 Harrison Avenue in Boston. There, they are sorted and tagged to go to one of our stores. You can donate at all of our stores or at any of our attended donation centers or recycling centers. At some of our stores, the donations are processed onsite and then go directly into that store. 


DTC: What are the donations used for? 

JH: The donations are sold at a low cost in our stores. There, they are available to individuals or families looking to stretch their dollar, thrifters or fashionistas who love a good bargain. Or just shoppers who love a Goodwill find that you won’t get anywhere else.


DTC: How do the donations that Goodwill receives impact the community of Boston? 

JH: Goodwill’s mission is to help individuals with barriers to self-sufficiency to achieve independence and dignity through work. To help people with barriers to employment, we run a number of social enterprises, including The Goodwill Stores. They provide jobs and also [financially] support our training programs that help people find work. Locally, we serve more than 8,000 people, providing job training, career services, and programs for youth.


DTC: What other impact do donations have on the community? 

JH: We have a clothing drive called Put Your Clothes to Work, which collects business attire and accessories for job seekers. Those clothes and accessories are made available at quarterly Clothing Collaboratives for Job Trainees. There, job seekers who have gone through a training program at Goodwill or another nonprofit organization in Boston can come and get an outfit free of charge to wear on job interviews. We also have a number of community events throughout the year, including a Thanksgiving-in-a-Basket event with the New England Patriots and a Youth Holiday Party for families in need. Finally, there is an environmental impact to donating. At Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, which is the Goodwill for eastern and central Massachusetts, we collect more than 23 million pounds of donated goods every year. Instead of going to a landfill, they are [put back into] the community. You could say: Goodwill, not landfill.

DTC: How many people work for Goodwill? 

JH: At Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, there more than 380 employees.

DTC: Is it a nationwide or local effort? 

JH: Goodwill was started in Boston in 1895. It quickly grew and became a national movement. There are now more than 165 Goodwill affiliates in the United States and Canada. Every Goodwill has its own president and CEO as well as its own board of directors.


DTC: How much do donations contribute to the actual operations of Goodwill? 

JH: There wouldn’t be Goodwill Stores without donations. All the clothing and household goods in our stores are donated by the community or by organizations or businesses. It is a true social enterprise. Through the donations, jobs are created and programs and services are supported. We have a public service announcement that puts it this way: Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.


DTC: Are there other ways to assist Goodwill other than donating items? 

JH: Through our business partnerships, you can volunteer at Goodwill. You can also make a financial gift to support our programs and services. If you are a business, you could hire a job seeker from Boston Career Link or a participant from one of our programs. There are many ways to help or contribute! For more information about Goodwill, visit our website at www.goodwillmass.org.

Ditch the Clutter is proud to continue the support and efforts of our local Goodwill organization and the impact they have on our community. If you have any additional questions about Goodwill, we encourage you to reach out via their website at www.goodwillmass.org.