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Goodwill's GoodShred offers opportunity for people who can't find work

It also raises money to help fund programs that teach job skills to people with mental and physical disabilities

December 01, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Kevin Wallace, left, of Hagerstown, Chris Robbins of Hancock and David Goforth of Hagerstown stack cardboard in a bailer, Thursday, at the Horizon Goodwill Industries location in Hagerstown, as part of the organization's new service called GoodShred.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

Horizon Goodwill Industries wants to shred your paper.

Or at least that was the message Goodwill officials gave Thursday during an open house at the agency's paper shredding facility at 200 N. Prospect St. in Hagerstown.

"Today is an attempt to grow the business," said Dan Elgin, Goodwill's director of business services. "It's good for people with disabilities and it's a good income generator."

Elgin said Goodwill invited several hundred businesses to the event in an effort to increase its client base. He said the operation currently has three customers.

Cindy Kaiser, a representative of Labor Ready, a temporary staffing agency in Hagerstown, said her company decided to sign on with Goodwill last week for a number of reasons.

"If we can support a wonderful cause like Goodwill, we'll do what we can," Kaiser said. "It's a win-win situation. It helps us out and it helps the community."

Elgin said the paper shredding business, known as GoodShred, started about a year ago as a way to raise money to help fund programs that teach job skills to people with mental and physical disabilities.

Goodwill officials said the paper shredding business employed three people last year and generated about $20,000.

"I love the job," said Kevin Wallace, who has been working at GoodShred for about two months. "It's peaceful and learnable. There's always something going on."

Elgin said for about 14 cents per pound or $35 for bulk pickups, Goodwill will come to the client's door, collect their paper and take it to the Prospect Street facility for shredding.

Craig MacLean, executive director and chief executive officer of Goodwill in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, said the more GoodShred grows, the more jobs it will provide.

"It creates an opportunity for people who have a hard time or can't find work," MacLean said.

He said Goodwill pays trainees the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. That low wage is paid, he said, to discourage workers from staying on.

"We don't want them to get comfortable," he said. "We want them to keep moving" and get a better job somewhere else.

Goodwill also offers recycling programs for shoes, books, computers, printers, monitors, keyboards and hard drives, according to information provided during the open house.

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For more information
To learn more about GoodShred, call 301-733-7330, ext. 1711.

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