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Schools donate tons of goods to Goodwill Industries

By Staff | Jun 4, 2011

Eleven schools in the Lee County School District helped provide 23,518 pounds of gently used goods for Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida’s “Good to Go” donation drive.
The estimated value of the donations is a little more than $18,800.
“A donation of that size can provide paid internships for almost every student at the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy, which is a charter school for students with developmental disabilities,” Goodwill’s Director of Public Relations Kirsten O’Donnell said in a prepared statement. “It’s really tough for students with special needs to get a job after graduation, so being able to provide those internships is vital to fulfilling our mission.”
Goodwill’s Senior Director of Retail Operations Jennifer Nelson said the “Good to Go” donation drive results were excellent for their first year. She said they anticipated a 10 percent participation rate from the 11 schools and got close to a 30 percent rate.
“It was a huge success for its first year,” she said.
The schools that participated included Bayshore Elementary, Caloosa Elementary, Colonial Elementary, Manatee Elementary, Gulf Elementary, Harns Marsh Elementary and Trafalgar Elementary. Early Childhood Development Center, Bonita Middle, Fort Myers High and Mariner High also provided donations.
Overall, Goodwill had close to 3,000 donors within the 11 schools.
Nelson said she found that the elementary schools were the most giving during the drive. She said the drive was a nice way to educate and let people know that their donations stay within their community to help the disabled and disadvantaged find jobs.
She said the drive tied in nicely with what the schools are teaching the students about reusing goods and recycling them, along with the mission of helping people in the community.
Trafalgar Elementary School collected the most donations out of the district with 4,120 pounds of goods. Colonial Elementary had the highest participation from students at 60 percent.
Trafalgar Elementary School Principal Marie Vetter said the student council, which is comprised of 48 students, sponsored the two-week Goodwill drive in March. She said the children were in charge of keeping track of the donations for each classroom.
The students also made posters to display around the school to inform everyone about the drive, along with doing some commercials on the morning news to promote it as well.
“It is good to teach children at a young age to help others … and that is the message we are trying to instill, “ Vetter said.
She said her school will participate in the drive again next year.
Nelson said next week she has a meeting with the Lee County School District Chief Academic Officer Dr. Constance Jones, so she can discuss a Goodwill voucher program for the district.
“We are committed to giving vouchers based on donation amounts,” Nelson said.
She hopes to give the district a lump sum of vouchers at $5 increments, so the district can provide it to children who need the extra help.
“The Lee County School District was very supportive of our efforts,” Nelson said.
Goodwill hopes to build on the drive every year and gain more participation from schools.