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See how Southeast Texans depend on Goodwill's holiday donations
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
With Christmas around the corner, many shoppers are making last minute gift purchase and retailers are counting their profits. But for one Beaumont store, it isn't all about money. It's about the giving spirit.
At the Goodwill store on Dowlen Rd. in Beaumont, a steady stream of cars flowed through the drop-off drive through Sunday. People donated a variety of items.
"Just a lot clothes and shoes and just stuff that we don't really need anymore," Hal Burke said. He was dropping off the items with his brother and mom. They're moving out of their house, but said they make donations to the store year-round.
The people donating come to the drop-off for different reasons.
Cordelia Charles is redecorating her apartment. She dropped off furniture.
"I think well now I have something new, is there something old I can get rid of," Charles said.
The variety of reasons are all part of the driving force behind donations.
"Everybody just kind of has that extra give in 'em," Erin Howell said. She donated bikes and clothes with her family. "We wanted to make sure that everybody kind of has a little bit of Christmas."
She's trying to spread holiday cheer, but she's not alone.
"During the holiday season we see a lot of donations coming in. It's our busiest time of the year," Randy Jones said. He's the president and CEO of Goodwill for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
Jones said the store can see a 50 to 100 percent increase in donations during the holiday season. He said it gets especially busy right after Christmas.
"As people get new items when they open their Christmas gifts, they have to make room for those new items. So they clean out the closets and they bring it to Goodwill," Jones said.
The store sells the donations and the profit goes back to the community. The money helps hire people like Angela Harvey.
"I came to Goodwill because I'm disabled. I was in a car accident in 1997," Harvey said. She said the accident killed her four year old daughter. "Because of the car accident I had cognitive problems."
She is employed by Goodwill. Sunday, she was sorting donated clothes.
"If I didn't work here," Harvey said, "I don't know that I could work anywhere."
She called Goodwill a blessing.
"I couldn't give up on life. I had to keep living and the way I did that, what helped me a lot working at Goodwill, coming to work and going to lunch like everybody else so I feel important," Harvey said. "I'm just like everyone else."
Organizing the unwanted items that have an impact far beyond the store's racks.