Goodwill donations continued pouring in despite COVID-19 closures

Nonprofit slowly reopening stores across 14 North Florida counties

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Goodwill Industries of North Florida has slowly begun reopening stores across 14 counties that were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Duval County, Goodwill has been staggering the reopenings. But while stores were closed, many sites had donations that were pouring in.

Hundreds of employees were laid off when stores closed, and while the nonprofit has been working to bring many of them back, some have found other places of employment. CEO David Rey said the Goodwill Industries of North Florida employed more than 750 people to work in stores across 14 counties.

“We had to lay off about 400 individuals. We gave them two weeks worth of pay to help them out, then we set up a team to help them navigate the unemployment system," Rey said.

During the safer-at-home order, Rey said donations continued.

“We’ve seen a high number of donations and that’s why we’ve had all our donation centers open because donations drive our organizations," he said.

Rey said COVID-19 has significantly changed how stores will operate.

“It adds more labor and manpower to keep things clean and sanitized and we must limit the number of customers. We’re complying with the 25-percent ratio.”

Because of COVID-19, items that are donated will be sterilized or held in a staging area for three to five days before they are allowed to be placed on the racks. Rey said that will slow down the supply chain.

“Limiting our customers, taking more donations, slowing down the supply chain and having more labor hours with less customers, that is a new business model we’re going to have to adapt to," he said.

Here is the Phase 2 reopening schedule for Goodwill of North Florida. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Sunday.

  • 5/15 – Yulee
  • 5/18 – New Berlin
  • 5/21 – Palm Coast
  • 5/22 – Loring Plaza
  • 5/25 – Lake City
  • 5/27 – Lakewood
  • 5/27 – Dunn Avenue
  • 5/29 – Julington Creek

The Good Career Center at Lakewood will open on Monday. Hours of Operation will be Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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