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Goodwill takes its message of charity on the road

Updated: 2013-12-29T05:50:30Z

By STEVE EVERLY

The Kansas City Star

Goodwill, the nonprofit group known for its thrift stores, was out Saturday with temporary donation sites and a message for those who stopped.

“We’re not just thrift stores,” said Stefany Williams, interim president and CEO of Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

Its mission is to find jobs for the mentally or physically disabled or those facing other obstacles in finding work, such as no car or day care. Last year, it placed 300 people in jobs at regional companies as well as employing another 200 to work at Goodwill’s stores and its janitorial service, which cleans federal government offices.

But the thrift stores help fund the enterprise, and the group relies on donations of clothes, toys, books and other goods. Those donations are normally given to one of Goodwill’s 17 thrift stores or two permanent donation centers. This Saturday, for a change it had trucks parked at three area Wal-Mart stores to help do the job.

The idea was to make it convenient for those wanting to make a donation before Jan. 1 or in time to snag a deduction on the year’s income taxes. Goodwill welcomes all sorts of goods, but it has a specialty that it got plenty of on Saturday.

“Clothes are our favorites, and we take them in any condition,” Williams said.

Goodwill doesn’t let any of it go to waste. It sells clothing in the best condition in its stores and at shopgoodwill.com. The rest goes to its outlet store in Kansas City, where clothing is sold by the pound and some ends up being resold in foreign countries. What’s left is sent to Goodwill’s textile salvage program, where the clothing is processed and sold to various companies such as those that use the clothing for dog-bed filling.

Williams said the response to the temporary sites was overall good, and she plans to do it again, although no dates have been set. The effort was helped by volunteers like Elizabeth Brown and Jean Klaas, seniors at Piper High School.

“We thought this was a way to help, and it was different,” said Klaas.

To reach Steve Everly, call 816-234-4455 or send email to severly@kcstar.com.

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