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Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids rolls out 'touchless' donation drop-off system

Posted at 2:08 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 20:01:35-04

GRAND RAPIDS — Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids has started taking donations again, after being closed for several weeks.

This all comes with some new safety precautions of course.

It’s a big step for the Goodwill; back in March, the organization was having issues with people just leaving anything and everything outside their doors, even though they were clearly closed.

“A lot of it was just trash, ” said Jill Wallace, Chief Marketing Officer, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids.

To keep employees safe, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids had to pay a service to haul all that trash away.

Wallace said, “We are the number one recycler in the world for clothing and textiles, so to have to take that to the landfill is very disheartening.”

With a new “touchless” drive-thru donation system in place, the organization said they’re excited that donations will actually be put to good use.

Wallace said, “We have an attendant who is moving cars through, so once they tell you to move forward, they will ask you to exit your car, and items should be bagged or boxed previous to getting into that donation line. They will then put the donations right into the bin that is marked,and then they are able to leave right from there”

It’s that easy.

Those donated items are then ‘quarantined.’

“That means they will sit in these actual we call them bins, for 72 hours before an employee touches them,’ Wallace said.

Though Goodwill storefronts are still closed, customers can shop online and pickup curbside. It’s money Wallace tells FOX 17 that can start going back towards their job training and placement programs.

“We provide job training for these individuals, we help them work with specific employers , get them back to work, we have job coach is that walk hand-in-hand side-by-side with them, and that’s what Goodwill is all about,” she said.

Wallace said it’s a small step in the right direction and they’re happy to welcome back their donors and employees.

“I think it’s just the camaraderie and the support of the Goodwill, the organization itself, I think that speaks volumes. Then, just knowing what those donations are doing for the community, I think that is very helpful for our employees to feel good about being back at work as well,” said Wallace.

Wallace said they’ve been able to bring back roughly 400 employees with their limited hours, adding that all employees will be fitted with the appropriate personal protection equipment.

Donations can be dropped off Monday, Tuesday, Friday – Sunday, 11am – 7pm.

You can also shop online here.

Curbside pickup is available 8am – 4pm.