Students Give Each Other a Hand Up in Tallahassee Goodwill® Donation Drive

Two Asian students peek out from under clothing rack. A six-year partnership between Goodwill Industries-Big Bend (FL) and Leon County Schools (LCS) is helping students in need give each other a hand up through an annual voucher system and donation drive.

For several years, numerous individual schools in the county had contacted Goodwill asking for assistance to provide items for students at their schools. It became apparent that this was a district-wide need so Goodwill and Leon County Schools formalized their win-win partnership in 2006.

At the beginning of each school year, LCS social workers receive Goodwill® vouchers to distribute to students throughout the year when needed. Students use the vouchers to shop for clothing, shoes and other items at Goodwill.

“School social workers have come to rely on this resource as the most convenient and immediate way to provide clothing assistance to families in need,” said Mara Shows, a social worker with Leon County Schools. “The clothing vouchers give these students the dignity to shop for themselves for what they need and like versus having clothes given to them.”

In return, Leon County Schools allows Goodwill to have an annual district-wide clothing drive. Over the course of four weeks, every student receives a Goodwill bag to fill up with donations and bring it back to their school. The theme of this year’s donation drive, being held from January 20-February 10, is ‘You Can Make a Difference.’

“One goal of this donation drive is for the students to learn they can make a difference by the power of donating,” said Brooke Lochore, VP of public relations at Goodwill Industries-Big Bend.

“Every student, from a kindergartener to a senior in high school, has something they no longer can wear, use or want.  By donating to Goodwill the students are not only helping others in their community they are making a difference to our environment,” she emphasized.