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Thrifted shirts with a purpose

The donation

Each year, Goodwill of Central Iowa receives nearly half a million donations from generous individuals and businesses in the community. Earlier this month, a generous donation of high-quality blank t-shirts from a local printer came through the doors of the Johnston donation center. What seemed to be a fairly odd donation quickly took shape and became a powerful vehicle for job training, community connectiveness and mission support.

The skills training

In Goodwill’s contract service department, skills trainees gain valuable work experience by working on a variety of tasks, from order fulfillment to light assembly. With this shirt donation, the team saw the opportunity to add another experience to the training program – t-shirt print production.

A Goodwill of Central Iowa employee created a shirt design to honor the “thrift queens” that frequent our retail stores and commit to the sustainability and money-saving benefits of shopping secondhand to help support Goodwill’s mission.

Professional t-shirt production equipment was rented and brought into the fully functioning warehouse at Goodwill of Central Iowa headquarters. Goodwill of Central Iowa is an ISO certified facility, following regulations and procedures that measure up to national industry standards.

Participants in Goodwill’s skills training programs went through trainings on basic t-shirt production and proper equipment safety and usage. Alec Frazier, a participant in Goodwill’s Creating Excellence in Re-Entry (CEiR) program, worked on the t-shirts as part of his warehouse experience.

“Goodwill has been amazing. The people here have completely changed my attitude toward things and have really given me a second chance to be the person I want to be,” Alec said.

Alec graduates the CEiR program on December 4 and will start a mechanic apprenticeship program following graduation.

“I’ve always had a passion for cars and can’t wait to gain the skills to hopefully open my own shop one day,” Alec said.

The sale

Goodwill’s exclusive “Thrift Queen” shirts will be launched on ShopGoodwill.com/DesMoines on Cyber Monday, December 2. ShopGoodwill is an online marketplace that brings some of Goodwill’s most premium, unique and in-demand items to shoppers through an easy-to-access online platform. Shoppers can choose to have items shipped or can pick up the items at Goodwill of Central Iowa’s headquarters office in Johnston.

Each shirt comes with a hand sourced accessory to compliment the “thriftiness” of the outfit. The accessory could be a necklace, bracelet, scarf or other item that is picked out by Ghazi, ShopGoodwill’s jewelry expert.

Ghazi arrived in Unites States with his family in 2012, having fled the war in Iraq. Refugee Services referred Ghazi to Goodwill, and he was able to earn wages for his family as he learned new skills in a variety of areas, including e-commerce processing. After graduation from the program, Ghazi was hired on full time by Goodwill and has a critical role in in the e-commerce department, where he is the expert in identifying precious metals and gems.

Your impact

By purchasing a “Thrift Queen” shirt, you’re making stories like Alec’s and Ghazi’s a reality. This simple shirt provides paid job training and employment opportunities, while generating revenue to fund programs that change lives every single day in central Iowa.

By supporting thrift, you’re supporting the move toward a more sustainable society. Buying second-hand is good for the planet, not just for your wallet.

On average, America throws away about 10.5 million tons of clothing each year. Goodwill of Central Iowa is the region’s largest recycler, having kept 20.7 million pounds of items out of local landfills in 2018.

Your support says so much. By sporting your “Thrift Queen” shirt, you’re saying:

  • I support second chances
  • I believe in purpose through the power of work
  • I care about our planet
  • Thrift is cool, and I’m here to tell you all about it!

To order your shirt, check out ShopGoodwill.com/DesMoines on Monday, December 2 or email us at Marketing@DMGoodwill.org to reserve your size today!

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