Goodwill distributes thousands in vouchers

Each year, Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries distributes thousands of dollars of store credits to community service agencies in Douglas, Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine counties to help people with need for clothing and household essentials. These store credits are referred to as “vouchers” which are redeemable only in Southern Oregon Goodwill stores and As Is outlets. Goodwill awarded $62,850 in 2017 to 72 community service organizations or “community partners.” By working with nonprofits, churches, and community groups, Goodwill can reach more people with the greatest need for clothing for career assistance or in crisis situations for household goods. If an individual is in need, they will receive a Goodwill voucher from one of the 72 partners in Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, or Klamath Counties — not directly from a Goodwill store or administrative office. The community partner determines the value of the voucher and what types of items they can be redeemed for; sometimes the voucher is noted to be redeemed specifically for interview clothing, bedding, shoes, furniture but that is the call of the issuer. Goodwill counts on our voucher partners to have the best judgment of the individual’s situation, to issue the voucher amount, or to specify what they are to be used for.

In most cases, vouchers can be redeemed in Southern Oregon Goodwill stores and As Is Outlets for anything except pink tag items (non-donated, new goods such as decor, seasonal costumes, or specialty items). This is Southern Oregon Goodwill’s specific policy worthy of note because there are 164 independent Goodwill agencies — each with their own policies and voucher distribution methods.

If you read a recent viral post on Facebook about “Ryan Muncy,” Southern Oregon Goodwill would like to clarify some facts. Although this Facebook posting did not contain all the facts nor provide context for the situation, we recognize the poster’s viewpoint and appreciate his desire to help. The young man with a disability was shopping with his case manager at a Goodwill store in a small Midwest town. He was referred to Goodwill from a local community agency, in order that he might shop for clothing under a voucher program that that Goodwill organization provides within that community.

That voucher program certainly had limitations, as articulated by the concerned Facebook poster. More specifically, the voucher was for adults over the age of 18 who are in an emergency situation. Its value was $50. Another type of voucher offered by that Goodwill organization is for children.

The young man received a voucher for his circumstances, which everyone should respect are private and personal. The young man and his case manager did appreciate the service offered by Goodwill as well as the supplementary support by the man who chose to purchase additional clothing for him.

Each Goodwill organization has different programs based on various needs of the community. All in all, local, community-based Goodwill organizations provide job placement, training, career counseling, virtual skills training, mock interviews, dress etiquette, and résumé review to hundreds of thousands of people each year.

The Goodwill social enterprise model is a key instrument for providing resources to communities that allow millions of people to receive training and community services, such as child care, transportation and youth mentoring, and place hundreds of thousands of people in jobs.

We are grateful to the hundreds of thousands of people who support Goodwill and share the Goodwill story, and more importantly, the people across North America who are served by Goodwill every month are appreciative of their community’s support. We thank you for your ongoing involvement while Goodwill organizations continually strive to improve all of our services.

See also Five Things To Know to learn about SO Goodwill President & CEO Shae Johns.

Posted in: Goodwill in the News, Mission Services

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