Nonprofits, community organizations and philanthropic groups – they all depend on donations to operate and help our fellow Arkansans. For some, that means collecting money – for others, selling cookies or popcorn. For Goodwill, they need your old backpack and side table.

Yes, your backpack, side table, that pair of shoes in the back of your closet, that picture frame that still has the photo of that perfect family tucked inside… They are what make Goodwill’s mission possible.

Let me explain. A lot of people aren’t familiar with what happens AFTER you donate to Goodwill, what it means to your community. It’s not just about cleaning out your garage or purging your child’s closet of onesies gone by. You’re doing so much more.

Goodwill’s mission is changing lives through education, training and employment. They help people get jobs by providing training, helping them finish their education and search for job openings. That’s right. Goodwill’s mission isn’t to sell clothes and household items – but those items make everything else possible. Your gently used items give Arkansans a chance at better lives, better lives for their families.

So, how does your old backpack turn into a family that’s financially more stable, happier, more independent and confident? Goodwill sells that backpack you weren’t using. When a customer buys it, some of the funds are used to help pay for a school where adults can go back to get their high school diploma. It also helps pay for a computer lab that anyone can use to build a resume or search online job postings, and it helps pay for programs that assist those coming out of incarceration. They receive job training and support, so they can begin their new lives on the right foot – not right back where they started.  Your backpack, and the thousands of other donations Goodwill receives each year, does all that and more.

So as you’re cleaning out your closet, decluttering the garage and going through your cabinets – reconsider that garage sale. Aside from the fact they’re a TON of work, think of the people you could help. Meet a few of them below. These are all people who benefitted from Goodwill programs in Arkansas, people being helped by your old backpack.

Excel Center Graduates

(Back from left) Trent, Theresa, Stefan (front from left) Rachel and Halley. The Excel Center, Goodwill’s high school for adults


Goodwill Supported Employment

Nikki. Goodwill Supported Employment


re-entry, life launch

Jeremy. Re-entry, Life Launch. (The Goodwill® Adult LifeLaunch Reintegration Program is made possible with a grant award of $4.5 million, covering 74 percent of costs, from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Twenty-six percent of the Goodwill Adult LifeLaunch Reintegration Program activities and services will be supported with $1.6 million in leveraged resources.)


Academy, GUEST program, Baptist Hospital, training

The Academy At Goodwill


career services, job fair

Career Services