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Goodwill in need of goods

March 20, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Horizon Goodwill Industries in Hagerstown is running low on donated goods, a situation that has a direct effect on client training.

"Traditionally, this time of year is slow for us, but in order to continue to have work for our trainees and clients in our processing areas and retail stores, we need donations now," said Jennifer Mallow, Goodwill director of business development and marketing.

The sales of donated items in 11 retail stores in the four-state area fund career-training and job-placement programs for the disabled and disadvantaged individuals in many communities.

"In February, we began letting our processing staff go home early in the day - there wasn't enough work for them," Mallow said.

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Goodwill has four processing centers - in Hagerstown, Martinsburg, W.Va., Winchester, Va., and Cumberland, Md. And they are all low on donations.

At the 14515 Pennsylvania Ave. facility in Hagerstown, there are empty bins everywhere in the huge processing center.

"For example, the week ending Feb. 24, we were down 565 donors over the previous year at this time," Mallow said. "People just aren't in the mood."

When the bins are full, 18 to 20 workers are busy sorting the clothing by size, gender and quality. Most of the items come from the Burhans Boulevard collection center or from drop-offs at the retail stores, Mallow said.

Craig MacLean, Goodwill executive director, said the disabled and veteran population is growing for a variety of reasons, thus increasing the demand for services.

"The level of need is growing, so we must figure out how to bridge that gap," MacLean said. "That piece of clothing in your closet has multiplied in its importance."

Mallow suggests that residents clean out their closets and donate to Goodwill what they don't wear.

"When you go buy those new spring clothes, get rid of the things you don't need," she said.

For more information, call 301-733-7330.

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