Jenna Isaacson—independent visual journalist, Goodwill® blogger and lover of all things thrift—recently left Washington, DC, on a thrifting expedition for her documentary photo project All Thrifty States: A Visual Journey through America’s Collective Closets. Goodwill Industries is an educational partner and sponsor of the project and upcoming book that demonstrate how purchasing used items is not only environmentally friendly, but a healthy alternative to the consumerism that has pushed Americans’ spending habits to the max.
Isaacson took her first trip in June 2011, traveling 10,200 miles and visiting more than 60 thrift stores, including 32 Goodwill stores in 30 states. This trip will complete 48 of her 50 “thrifty” states. Goodwill is sponsoring a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle for Isaacson’s trip. BALCON Enterprises, a Gaylord box and bulk bag manufacturer that works with Goodwill agencies throughout the United States, is also sponsoring the project due to its commitment to environmental sustainability and support of the Goodwill mission.
“With the economic paradigm shifting rapidly towards reuse and repurpose, showcasing America’s thrift stores, particularly Goodwill stores, is a great way to engage Americans’ creativity,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Jenna is taking her passion for donated goods and educating the public on the tie-in between donations and environmental sustainability. She is also disproving negative stereotypes about thrift stores and bringing light to the Goodwill mission while sharing her knowledge of the benefits of secondhand living.”
Through this project, Isaacson intends to raise awareness about the positive aspects of secondhand shopping in local communities while also demonstrating the benefits of donating. These include reducing the items sent to landfills, cutting clutter, saving money for municipalities and boosting the economy.
“With All Thrifty States, my goal is to not only make an impact on the environment, but also to provide a window into the story of America’s communities through the observation of things they once owned,” Isaacson said. “Goodwill stores contain a distinct variety of items that are reasonably priced, stylish, fun and say a lot about the communities that surround them.”
From now until April 30, Isaacson will visit Goodwill stores in Albany, NY; Baltimore, MD; Burlington, VT; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, WV; Cleveland, OH; Columbia, SC; Columbus, OH; Concord, NH; Detroit, MI; Morgantown, WV; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, ME; Richmond, VA; Savannah, GA; Scranton, PA; and Stratford, NJ, photographically documenting the goods she finds.
She will also stop at thrift stores that support local community efforts, including animal shelters, domestic violence shelters, hospices, hospitals, and services for people who are homeless. In the process, she will be encouraging a more ‘second-hand’ consumer lifestyle.
In addition to her work with All Thrifty States, Isaacson is serving as one of Goodwill Industries International’s bargain shopping bloggers for the second consecutive year. View Jenna’s previous posts and stay tuned to the blog for updates from the road.