Monday, October 29, 2012

Goodwill: Why it’s great for the Lowcountry in So Many Ways

                                                                     By: Corinne Boyer
             After paying for tuition, food, gas and all of your other bills, finding extra money for clothing, furniture, and household items is probably the last thing on a student’s mind.  Despite the rising cost of living, one community staple is dedicated to providing the Lowcountry with affordable clothing and house wares, Goodwill.  Goodwill stores are located throughout South Carolina with fifteen locations in the Tri-County area.   Since 1902, Goodwill has trained, employed, and offered job search assistance to people in need.  Goodwill shopping experiences are unique and every time you buy or donate items to Goodwill, you help people work. 
            After moving back to Charleston nearly two years ago, I was broke.  I didn’t have a job, a car, or my own apartment, and I needed clothes.  Within two weeks I found a job, and after wearing the same few outfits for three weeks, I knew I needed more work clothes.  I discovered great, gently used clothing at the Mount Pleasant Goodwill on Ben Sawyer Boulevard.  In one trip, I bought blouses, shirts, a suit, loafers, four pairs of pants, and a few books for approximately $45.  I was thrilled and knew this store would add to my work wardrobe without exceeding my budget. 

           I called the Mount Pleasant Goodwill Store on Ben Sawyer and spoke to Shameiah about Goodwill’s prices.  Women’s blouses and slacks are $3.79, boots are $3.99, and purses are $4.79.  Men’s suits are $9.99, blazers are $4.79 and jackets are $3.99.  Keep in mind, that not all of Goodwill’s donations are second hand clothing.  I’ve found brand new clothing with the tags still in tact from Target and White House Black Market.  Still skeptical about the types of clothes donated and sold at Goodwill?  Goodwill has an advantageous, fashion do it yourself (DIY) blog that provides tips that will guide you through your Goodwill hunt.
           When I found my own apartment, I needed house ware items.  At the Goodwill on Rivers Avenue, I found silverware, vases, decorative kitchen items, curtains, fabric, plates and a lamp for around $30.  I saw a refurbished teal, antique dresser for $25 once, and I still regret not purchasing it.  You’ll be surprised by what you can find at Goodwill.  Today, my wardrobe is almost exclusively from Goodwill excluding a few items I’ve purchased over the last few years.  When I show up to work in new clothing, my co-workers immediately say, “you found that at Goodwill?!”  My response is always the same, “yes, I can find everything I need at Goodwill.”
           Over the summer, I traveled to Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.  Even while vacationing, my Goodwill addiction has become a priority.  The Tacoma Goodwill was enormous, and the clothes were divided by donations and items that came directly from Target, Kmart, Hollister and several other retailers.  The new clothes from retailers were somewhat more expensive.  I bought three shirts from target and a new pair of Hollister jeans for $30.  Last month, I visited family in Mission Viejo, California and went shopping at the local Goodwill.  I found gently used clothing from Target, The Limited and purchased a few books for $27.
           Paperback books are 99 cents and hard cover books are $1.99.  I have stocked my bookshelves full of classics written by John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elie Wiesel, and Arthur Miller.  I’ve also found newer, best sellers like The Time Traveler’s Wife, A Million Little Pieces, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  If you have required reading for English courses, check out Goodwill first.  It may take you a while to read through the hundreds of titles at each location, but you never know what you will find. 
In addition to the clothing and house ware treasures waiting to be discovered, Goodwill operates by a powerful slogan, “Helping people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work” (  In 1902, Goodwill was founded in Boston by a Methodist minister, Reverend Edgar J. Helms.  Reverend Helms employed impoverished people and immigrants to help fix items donated by people in the community.  Repaired items were either sold or the workers were allowed to keep them ( 
          For over a century, communities across the nation have provided enough clothing and monetary donations to supply work for Goodwill employees.  At, several success stories of Goodwill employees are listed.   Accounts of accident victims, former drug addicts, and people with mental and physical disabilities are just some of success stories of employees at Goodwill.   With locations world-wide, Goodwill’s successful business model continues to make available affordable shopping centers, jobs, and job resources that support and help communities thrive.  Donate those clothes you never wear today and discover extraordinary finds at your local Goodwill.


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