Goodwill was formed by Rev. Edgar J. Helms in Boston in 1902. The turn of the 20th century was a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty. These troubled times compounded the daily burden of poverty for immigrants, people with disabilities, and unskilled laborers.
Rev. Helms stepped in to help these struggling individuals by collecting donated goods from the wealthy areas of town and giving them away to the poor. As time went on, he noticed that he was seeing the same faces again and again. Rev. Helms realized that the traditional approach to charity was not breaking the cycle of poverty; it merely addressed the symptoms, not the underlying causes. Services were needed that would lead people out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency.
So, in the basement of Rev. Helms’ Methodist Church, the first Goodwill Store was born. He hired the people that he had previously offered handouts, and gave them jobs repairing and selling the used goods collected. These early employees were the first to benefit from Goodwill’s philosophy, “a hand up, not a hand-out.” His successful beginnings allowed people to earn paychecks, rather than charity, and the resulting independence and pride that come with employment.
Rev. Helms believed that Goodwill Industries could be a model for service to humanity. The mission of Goodwill Industries is to give anyone who is willing to work despite disability or circumstances, not charity, but a chance. This is the legacy, and the charge, of Goodwill Industries.
Goodwill Industries of Lubbock opened their doors in 1967 with a donation from the Lubbock Lions Club and the Downtown Rotary Club.
Goodwill opened a small workshop and store at 715 28th Street in Lubbock, Texas. In 1967, Goodwill provide training and employment to 20 disabled staff and program participants. Training included small electronic repair, shoe repair, laundry, f urniture repair, including wicker re-caning, and sewing. Program participants provided sub-contract services for “Laundry”, “Cleaning Shop worker”, “Store Clerks” , “Janitors”, & “Warehousemen.” In 1967 Goodwill received approximately 3000 bags of donations yearly and generated approximately $103,000 in revenue annually.
Goodwill Industries of Lubbock, Inc. (GIL) acquired 21 counties in the Panhandle of Texas and 3 counties in Oklahoma in 2009. GIL now encompasses 45 counties in central and north Texas. GIL opened a 50,000 square foot facility in Amarillo Texas in June of 2010. GIL employment capacity is at 252+ people. 80 percent of the employees have a least one disability or barrier to employment
In 2015, Goodwill provided employment related services to more than 18,586 people across the South Plains and Panhandle Region of Texas.