Lehigh Acres is among the first communities in which Goodwill of Southwest Florida will begin a program called a "donor concierge." The Lehigh Goodwill store on Lee Boulevard has been open for two months and is one of 17 Goodwill cents in Southwest Florida.
Goodwill depends of donations and gifts from community residents throughout the region and in return offers several services to the disabled and disadvantaged, to those who need help in looking for a job and certain job training skills.
"We've just started our donor concierge service and it looks as if it will be one of the more popular we do. In actuality, we go out to the home of people who have lots of things to give to Goodwill, but hasn't the time because of age and other factors to gather them up, said Kirstin O'Donnell of Goodwill. She and a handful of others will take part in the new service.
"In Lehigh, Jay Huggins will likely be the person who will come to your home to access what you may want to give to Goodwill and make arrangements to come back when it suits both parties when Huggins and maybe a helper, will pack your donations with care and carry them to Goodwill," O'Donnell said.
"She is very excited as we all are about this new service Goodwill is providing. We have always gone out to a donor's house to pick up large pieces of furniture, but now we will pick up large assortment of things and help the donors to get it all together," she said.
The program is for people who are moving to a new location, downsizing to a smaller home or condo, or the loss of a loved one, which all bring tough decisions about which items to keep, which items to donate to charity, and which items to be thrown away.
That includes those who have filled their closets with so many clothes, all in great condition, that they don't know what to do. Maybe their size has change and they have no more use for the clothes, but just has not taken the time to make a decision about what to do with them.
People may be overwhelmed and that is where Goodwill comes in to help as a donor concierge.
The donor concierge service started a few months ago but is still new in most locations. In Lehigh, the word has been put out that Goodwill is here to help people.
"There may be older people who just cannot begin to gather up the things they no longer need and they need help. We have had many calls in the past from people who want to downsize, but said the task was just too overwhelming," O'Donnell said.
Goodwill will also come first to the house on an appointment to assess the size and quality of the donation. Goodwill can also refer you to trusted partners for other needed services such as cleaning, movers, trash removal, etc.
All donations to Goodwill are tax deductible and you will be provided with both peace of mind and an itemized donation receipt for tax purposes, O'Donnell said.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is a 501 3 nonprofit organization and help people by providing life changing opportunities to achieve independence.
If you are interested in this new service in Lehigh Acres, call Goodwill Donor Concierge Services at (866) 995-2106 and ask for Extension 2273. You can leave a message if they are not available to take the call.
You can also email them at: Concierge@goodwillswfl.org, according to a pamphlet they have distributed.
"This is all new and we think the service is needed, especially if donors have great amounts of clothing they want to donate to us," O'Donnell said.
"Also, they may have lots of glassware and things such as dishes and china that they would feel more comfortable if we came and boxed it up for them," she said.
Goodwill has been a successful organization and when asked why, O'Donnell said it was because of their "amazing leadership team."
"They come with a variety of experiences and are very beneficial for our organization," she said. Goodwill is both a national and international organization and begun in 1902, she said.
"Oh, we don't want to forget to let business people know, too, that we are very much interested in their office equipment when they decide to move, or go out of business, or buy new desks and cabinets," she said. "Just a call to us and will come and pick it up so you don't have to be bothered with disposing it," she said.
O'Donnell said all donations support those programs like Job-Link, resource centers, income-subsidized housing for people with physical disabilities, and the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy, public charter school for students with intellectual disabilities.
Just last year, more than 37,000 Southwest Floridians in need came to Goodwill for assistance.
And shopping in their 17 stores all over Southwest Florida can be a great way to find bargains, including not only nice clothes, but furniture, trinkets and all sorts of items for the kitchen, home and yard, she said.