Barbara Casteel: More Than a Donation

Donations are more than just bags of clothes. Goodwill transforms these donations into something more, something that changes lives.

The life of a donation is something rather unique. Once dropped off with a donation attendant, donations are sorted, priced and put on the sales floor. Items that do not sell within four weeks are then sent to a clearance store where they have one day to sell. Items not sold in the pound store are then sent to the salvage division, where they are sorted and baled by commodity. Each commodity is sold by the truckload for recycling in the U.S. and overseas. 

In 2016, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas diverted approximately 7.75 million pounds of household items, clothing, shoes, computers, trash and more from local landfills. But aside from having a positive effect on the environment, what is the point of donating to Goodwill? The mission of Goodwill is to create job opportunities for people with barriers to employment. In other words, it’s all about jobs.

In addition to employing more than 200 individuals in Lubbock and the surrounding areas, the revenue generated from the sales of donated goods helps fund Goodwill’s Training, Placement and Life Skills (T-PALS) program, which offers a number of services, including computer skills classes, résumé and cover letter writing, interviewing techniques, one-on-one job counseling, barrier identification, job search skills, job and employment development training, and other pre-employment needs. All T-PALS services are offered at no cost to participants.

Goodwill served a total of 1,121 participants in 2016 through the T-PALS program offered in Lubbock and Amarillo. One of these participants, Barbara Casteel, came to Goodwill at a time when she felt she had nowhere else to turn.

“I was needing a change in my life badly,” Barbara said. “I felt so lost and not worth the time or money to invest in when I came to Goodwill.”

But with the support and encouragement from the T-PALS team, Barbara said she was able to learn new skills and push herself closer to achieving her goals.

“From the time that I walked through the doors I was treated with dignity and respect,” she said. “I mattered to them, and I felt it. It is a special program that sees potential in everyone.”

Goodwill realized Barbara’s potential as a customer service representative, and she was offered a job as a full-time receptionist for the Lubbock T-PALS program after completing her classes. In September, Barbara will celebrate her one year anniversary with the company.

“I love my job with Goodwill,” she said. “I could not have asked for any better. With all my heart, I want to say, ‘Thank you, Goodwill.’”

Barbara is one of the many individuals impacted every day by the generous donations from the communities Goodwill serves. These donations create jobs and provide job training, which in turn, change lives.

“Through the generosity of the communities we serve, Goodwill’s business lines are able to contribute 94 percent of our annual operating budget, with local foundations and United Way investing 6 percent,” said Robin Raney, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. “We are very grateful for the generosity of the Lakeridge community.”