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Winter Weather Chills Donations to Goodwill Stores in Kentucky


A donation deficit at Goodwill stores across Kentucky is putting pressure on the organization’s budget.Business traditionally slows down during winter months, but this year has been unusually affected by the cold weather, said Heather Hise, spokesperson for Goodwill Industries in Kentucky.“Compared to last year, we are down 10,000 donations,” Hise said.The decreased numbers of donations has led to more than just a smaller selection on shelves—it has also affected  employees.“People who work in our donated good centers rely on donations for their jobs,” Hise said.  “When we don’t have donations it is very difficult for them to have any work to do.”Hise said there has not been any layoffs and she does not expect any, but employees have been forced to work fewer hours.Goodwill Industries of Kentucky employs nearly 1,300 employees throughout the state.“Goodwill’s priority is employment,” Hise said.  “It always has been since our founding in 1933. Our main goal is to place people into jobs where they can be successful.”Hise said the organization helps out vulnerable populations by focusing efforts on providing jobs and job counseling to people who might otherwise have difficulty finding employment.“Whether it’s because of a disability or some other factor, such as limited education or English as Second Language,” Hise said.Despite the recent economic downturn, the organization is not struggling to stay afloat.“We are continuing to grow,” Hise said.  “We still see needs around the state that we can fill.”Each Goodwill store employs, on average, 12 jobs to the community, Hise said.The bulk of Goodwill funding comes through donated goods, which are in turn sold at one of 63 stores throughout Kentucky.  There are 12 Goodwill locations in Louisville, including the state’s busiest donation center at Taylorsville Road and McMahan Boulevard.Fundraising efforts supply the remaining budgetary requirements.“We rely on everything coming from the community,” Hise said.  “Goodwill is really a community supported organization and we cannot survive without our donors.”In response to recent slump in donations, Goodwill officials will be launching a "March Gladness" campaign during the month of March to encourage residents to support employees at local Goodwill stores.During the campaign, donations will be tracked via Goodwill Industries of Kentucky   Facebookand Twitter accounts. “It’s a critical time of year for us,” Hise said.  “If anyone can find it in their hearts to dig out those things that may not be doing any good and bring them to Goodwill we would certainly appreciate it.”For a map of area Goodwill donation centers, click here.

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.