75 Acts of Good - Goodwill Industries of New Jersey and Philadelphia

To celebrate its 75th anniversary,

Goodwill is recognizing 75 Acts of Good.  Since its founding in 1948, we’ve been spreading goodwill in the communities we serve through our job training and education outreach services.  Now, we are sharing positive stories about volunteerism, philanthropy and random acts of kindness by our employees.


Act of Good #1

After a morning donation drop at Goodwill’s Woodcrest Donation Center, a donor realized she had lost her wallet.  After retracing her steps for the day, she accepted the fact that her wallet was gone and notified the proper agencies.  To her great surprise, the donor received a call from a Goodwill employee named Richard C. at the Woodcrest site the next morning.  He had found her wallet and locked it in the safe for safe keeping.  According to the donor, “Richard proves that the world still has people who care about their work and customers they serve.  His exemplary work ethic and attention to detail allowed this story to end happily.  I am grateful to Richard for not only returning my wallet but for reinforcing that people still care about others.” 

Act of Good #2

In addition to serving as Goodwill’s Director of Industrial Services, Wes H. has been a Volunteer Coordinator for the Batsto Citizen Committee, Inc. for over a decade.  This non-profit organization supports the restoration and interpretation of Batsto Village, located in the Wharton State Forest in the heart of the Pine Barrens.  Wes’ deep involvement over the years has included organizing special events, writing articles to promote the Village and developing a new and improved user-friendly website for visitors to tap into. On any given weekend, Wes can be found dressed in traditional attire, providing tours and sharing his passion for the history of Batsto Village with visitors.  Thanks to his dedication, the historic village will live on for generations to come for people to visit and enjoy.  Wes’ commitment to Goodwill’s mission is just as strong.  He is a tremendous advocate for the clients with disabilities who work in Goodwill’s Contracts Services Department.  According to his colleagues, “his kindness to our clients is unmatched!”

Act of Good #3

Kim R., a Goodwill Employment Specialist for 18 years, is being recognized with an Act of Good for her kindness in helping our clients with disabilities be heard. Outside of her day job working directly with clients in Goodwill’s Contracts Division, Kim volunteers her time after hours and on the weekends to drive them to advocacy conferences to voice their ideas and concerns pertaining to self-advocacy. She had taken them to Trenton for ACCSES NJ events and to as far away as Washington D.C. Here, they were given the opportunity to speak to Congress and share how Goodwill’s sheltered workshop program has transformed their lives. Kim’s dedication to advocating for others is truly inspiring, and her commitment to empowering those faced with barriers is a testament to her kindness and selflessness. 

Act of Good #4

Mary C. is known as a Goodwill employee who “gives, gives, and gives!”  As Goodwill’s CDL-B Program Manager, Mary provides both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction to prepare participants to become licensed to drive school and commercial buses, limos and delivery truck.  Her goal is to ensure students both succeed and smile!  Mary supplies Goodwill’s Career Opportunity Center in Philadelphia (Parkside) with snacks and quick meals to ensure her students are well fed and hydrated so they can focus 100% on learning.  She delivers donuts to her family, friends, co-workers and students on her made up holiday, “Doughnut Day.”  And over the winter holidays, Mary, a 19 year veteran Goodwill employee, is known for the mouthwatering homemade candies she distributes.  According to her nominator, “It is a blessing just witnessing Mary’s true goodwill in action every day as she encourages, counsels and corrects students with such sincere zeal and compassion.” 

Act of Good #5

With 47 years of service at Goodwill, Alfonso has a passion for spreading goodwill both internally and externally.  He has been a devoted Deacon at Bright Memorial Disciples of Christ Church in Camden, NJ for two decades. He finds solace and inspiration in reading the Bible and actively participating in church events. Alfonso’s compassionate nature extends beyond his church as he frequently visits hospitals to offer patients comfort through meaningful conversations and is always willing to lend a helping hand to his neighbors.  Most recently, he assisted a coworker and a longtime friend in reconciling after being estranged for over two years.  His unwavering dedication to spreading positivity and kindness serves as an inspiration to us all.  And just as Goodwill turns 75 this year, Alfonso recently celebrated his 75th birthday!

Act of Good #6

A nurse for more than 40 years, Lynn T. has devoted her life to caring for others—including those on the brink of dying.  As Vice President of Goodwill Home Medical Equipment, Lynn runs the business unit as well as a 16,000 square foot specialized store which sells affordable refurbished medical equipment.  Off hours, Lynn does something incredibly remarkable—she is an end of life doula.  Similar to birth doulas, end of life doulas provide spiritual and emotional support and comfort to patients and their loved ones during this major life transition.  For example, she helps patients find meaning in their life and finalize last wishes while assisting families in creating a soothing physical space for them.  According to a Goodwill colleague who recently lost a loved one, “Watching someone approach the end is heart wrenching.  You can’t plan for it.  You just want peace and comfort for them.  With infinite kindness and wisdom, Lynn got my family through some very dark days.  It takes a special person to do what she does.  In her job at Goodwill Home Medical, Lynn shares this same compassion with shoppers who are often faced with serious medical issues.  Her top priority is finding the right medical supplies and equipment that will bring comfort and quality of life.”

Act of Good #7

Sometimes things get donated to Goodwill accidentally.  We’ve received everything from family heirlooms and cash to valuable artwork and even historical items. Goodwill’s team of processors work incredibly hard to sort through millions of pounds of donations each year and manage to SHINE when it comes to doing the right thing.  Recently, Malika, one of our hard-line processors, came across something valuable that seemed out of place in a bag of donations.  Per Goodwill policy, she called for her manager who immediately took the item; locked it in the store safe; and filed a Loss Prevention Management System (LPMS) report with management to find the rightful owner. According to her regional manager, “Malika is an extraordinary employee who is honest and trustworthy and takes pride in her job every day.  Her integrity is rock solid and she makes us Goodwill proud every day.”      

Act of Good #8 – 17

Ten employees recently participated in Goodwill’s inaugural Emerging Leaders Institute, a professional development program aimed to build and develop future leaders within the organization. Through this intensive eight-week program, participants gained expertise in crucial areas such as executive presence and managerial effectiveness, while gaining valuable insights on building successful teams. Their unwavering dedication to personal growth and continuous learning not only showcases their potential as future leaders, but also reflects the very essence of Goodwill’s mission: empowering people to succeed. Let us commemorate the graduates for their outstanding impact through 10 Acts of Good!

Act of Good #18 – 26

Pet owners bring their canine friends just about everywhere with them these days—even to drop off donations at their local Goodwill.  That’s why the staff at Goodwill’s Attended Donation Center in Toms River, NJ are now giving out dog biscuits to their furry donors.  They even established a wall of photos of their loyal canine visitors.  According to management, Goodwill’s Toms River staff has gone above and beyond in nurturing relationships with our donors by extending this special treat.  “I believe they are helping create lifelong donors through their stellar kindness and outstanding customer service.”  For this, the entire team at Toms River is being awarded an Act of Good.  Congrats to Maria, Ian, Daniel, Daniel, Thomas, Stephan, Robert, William and Mattison.

Act of Good #27

William P. is the supervisor at Goodwill’s Lincoln Drive Donation Center in Philadelphia by day.  But after work, he changes gears completely.  Well known in his community, he is affectionately known as Pastor P. at the Trumpet Zion Tabernacle Church in Philadelphia.

Most recently, Pastor P. celebrated 24 years of faithful service with his parishioners.  Beyond leading a large congregation, Pastor P. volunteers his time at a prison ministry serving male inmates throughout the city.  He provides these individuals with constant messages of encouragement and hope for the future through Bible studies.

Goodwill is proud to call Pastor P. one of its very own.  “Pastor P’s commitment to the Philadelphia community is evident in all that he does,” according to his Goodwill supervisor.  “His mission in life aligns closely with Goodwill’s—he helps people discover new beginnings.  He is caring, inspiring and a fantastic role model to all.”

Act of Good #28

Carmen, a supervisor in Goodwill’s transportation department, has dedicated countless hours to leading Cub Scouts ever since her granddaughter joined.  A meaningful moment recently arose when one of her cubs was ready to move up but didn’t want to leave her troop behind. Carmen took the initiative to become a Scoutmaster for her own female troop, ensuring that the girl, whom she believed had the potential to become an Eagle Scout, could continue her scouting journey alongside her troop members. As a Scoutmaster, Carmen provides engaging activities that instill vital values like civic responsibility, leadership, environmental protection, teamwork, and ingenuity. Through her efforts, she strives to equip today’s scouts with the necessary skills to shape a better future for all. Carmen’s commitment to making a personal and positive impact within the scouting community shines through her dedicated involvement. 

Act of Good #29

Customer service associates at Goodwill are responsible for lots of things like welcoming shoppers; providing assistance on the sales floor; and operating cash registers.  Yet sometimes they go above and beyond in spreading kindness, too.  With only four months on the job, Rob has already earned a reputation as hard-working, respectful to everyone, and trustworthy.  Most recently, a colleague noticed him giving money out of his own pocket to help a shopper pay for their purchase!  The shopper was, of course, eternally grateful for his generosity.   According to Rob’s manager, he is “the kind of employee every manager wishes he had ten of because of his strong work ethic and dedication to the team.” 

Act of Good #30

Five days a week, Ryan is an integral part of Goodwill’s warehouse team. As a certified forklift driver, he is responsible for loading and unloading trucks filled with donations to keep Goodwill’s inventory organized and moving. His supervisors say he is easy to identify–he’s the worker with a smile on his face and a helpful hand ready to extend to anyone in need.  At the end of his Goodwill shift, Ryan dons a new hat.  He jumps onto a firetruck as a local firefighter.  In fact, Ryan recently graduated from the Fire Academy at Camden County College and is now certified by the State of New Jersey as a firefighter.  We are Goodwill Proud to call Ryan one of our very own for his immense bravery, courage and strength.

Act of Good #31

Beyond being a hard-working supervisor at Goodwill’s busy Shrewsbury, NJ Attended Donation Center (ADC), Mike gives back to the local community as an ordained Christian minister.  He is also bilingual and helps bridge language barriers with parishioners.  Mike gives sermons; serves communion; runs weekly Bible studies; and sings in the choir.  He also volunteers with a local food pantry to distribute food in the Lakewood, NJ area and participates in a Facebook live radio ministry out of Detroit.  On the job at Goodwill, Mike welcomes donors with a friendly attitude and smile.  He is always the first to jump when a donor accidentally donates something they didn’t mean to!  According to his supervisor, Mike has redeemed his well-earned Rapid Reward points for ShopRite gift cards to give to those struggling to make ends meet.  Mike is a believer in sharing what you have!

Act of Good #32

Maureen’s journey at E-Commerce began as a referral from one of Goodwill’s training programs. From the very start, her fellow coworkers noticed her compassion and caring nature, earning her the nickname. “Mom.” Maureen would have everything you need, whether it was Tylenol or dark chocolate treats. Mondays became a special occasion where she would bring in a bag of soft pretzels, surprise cookies or cupcakes, just to brighten everyone’s day. Maureen’s thoughtfulness went beyond simple treats, she made it a mission to discover her coworkers’ favorites, surprising them with items like lemon cake from Dunkin Donuts or scrumptious brownies from Wawa. Even in the face of challenges, like occasional knee flare-ups, Maureen remained unwaveringly positive. She checked in on colleagues who weren’t feeling well, offering a helping hand without fail. Throughout the two years of working at Goodwill, there wasn’t a single instance where she showed anything less than a cheerful demeanor. Her genuine kindness has touched the hearts of everyone around her, creating a warm and supportive environment.

Act of Good #33

A consummate team player.  A kind human being who cares deeply for others.  Friendly with everyone from his colleagues to donors and people walking down the street.  These are words that describe Touray who works at Goodwill’s Shrewsbury Attended Donation Center. There is no limit to his kindness.  Touray has provided a ride to work for a colleague who uses a walker—even on HIS days off!  When a rainstorm hits, have no fear, Touray is on the job with an umbrella sheltering Goodwill donors and even passengers waiting at the bus stop across the street.  On an exceptionally hot summer day, Touray was able to help a young mother console a toddler on the verge of heat exhaustion by providing Gatorade and words of comfort.  Most recently, he helped a donor who inadvertently ran out of gas in her rental car just minutes before reaching the donation center.  In a nutshell, Touray is a ray of sunshine—spreading refreshing kindness and positivity every chance he gets! 

Act of Good #34 & 35

Fernando is the Bordentown Goodwill’s real-life Superman!  He is there in an instant to assist donors, customers and his Goodwill co-workers.  He always has a smile on his face.  And yes ma’am is a staple in his vocabulary.  Fernando had a goal of competing in the Special Olympics.  He asked for his manager, Amanda’s, help in preparing his application.  The whole Bordentown Goodwill rallied behind him from start to finish.  His dream came true.  Last year, Fernando made everyone GOODWILL PROUD by bringing home the GOLD in flag football at the Special Olympics hosted in Orlando, FL! Amanda continues to be Fernando’s biggest cheerleader both at work and on the field.  When he was recently honored by the National Football Foundation, Amanda was right there by his side as he received the Shiver Champion Award for his many accomplishments.  Congrats to Fernando, our hard-working athlete and Amanda, a manager by day and cheerleader on the side, for forging a wonderful alliance in this Special Olympics journey.    

Act of Good #36

Ray’s Act of Good shines at Goodwill Home Medical Equipment, where he wholeheartedly commits to assisting individuals in finding the right equipment for their specific needs. As the Operations Manager, Ray goes the extra mile to help customers find the perfect fit. A recent example of his exceptional dedication involves Keenan, a client in the Goodwill Contracts division, who faces the challenges of Cerebral Palsy. Keenan found himself in dire need of a new wheelchair, as his current one was in poor condition and failed to provide the necessary comfort and fit. Despite Keenan’s persistent efforts to obtain a replacement chair through Medicaid, he encountered repeated denials. Ray stepped in with unwavering determination to guide Keenan through the selection of a wheelchair, ensuring that it would offer the utmost comfort and customization. Ray expertly fitted the chair, making adjustments and enhancements, including the addition of a footrest. To Keenan’s delightful surprise, Ray added a lumbar support pillow and a backpack that conveniently attached to the wheelchair’s handles—a thoughtful gesture that left Keenan elated. Prioritizing the well-being of both employees and customers is a fundamental value at Goodwill, and Ray goes above and beyond to ensure clients like Keenan experience utmost comfort and happiness. Thank you, Ray, for showing the true spirit of Goodwill! 

Act of Good #37

In the realm of job coaching, there are those who exceed the standard expectations, leaving a lasting impact. Dawn B. serves as a radiant illustration of this. Her outstanding efforts in advocating for the empowerment of individuals with disabilities within the competitive employment arena even when confronted with daunting obstacles is remarkable!  Most recently, one of Dawn’s clients faced a particularly trying situation in their workplace. Struggling with an unsupportive manager who created a hostile environment, the client’s morale was at an all-time low. She recognized the urgency of the situation and strategized to improve it. Her approach was marked by not only dedication but also a genuine sense of advocacy for her client’s rights and well-being. She invested countless hours, working weekends and evenings, to document challenges even reaching out to store level and corporate management.  All the while, she maintained plenty of positive energy for her client.  In the end, Dawn’s persistence and commitment to her client’s best interests led to tangible changes in the workplace. The client’s environment became more accommodating, and their confidence was restored. This success was not just a triumph of advocacy but also a testament to Dawn’s immense heart and unyielding dedication as a job coach, mentor and friend. Her trustworthiness, respectfulness, supportiveness, and innovative spirit have not only enriched the lives of individuals with disabilities but have also set a benchmark for excellence in their field.  For this, Dawn recently received the Employment Specialist of the Year Award from the NJ Association of People Supporting Employment First (NJ APSE).

Act of Good #38

Honesty, reliability, and kindness are words that describe Clare M., one of the top softline processors at Goodwill. Clare has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment as a member of the Ocean Township Team. In times of staffing shortages, Clare goes the extra mile by stepping up as an assistant manager whenever the need arises. Clare is incredibly versatile, capable of performing any role in the store. She sets a remarkable standard as a senior associate and an exemplary role model for all employees. There was even a time when Clare demonstrated exceptional integrity when she stumbled upon a sum of money tucked away in a jacket pocket while processing textiles. Rather than succumbing to temptation, she returned the money, a testament to her moral principle and the kind of person she is. In addition, Clare recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary with Goodwill, making her the most tenured employee at the store. Her enduring dedication and commitment to honesty and hard work serves as an inspiration to all, reflecting the essence of an individual with a sincere and virtuous heart.

Act of Good #39

In times of distress, there are individuals who rise above to extend a helping hand, and among these remarkable heroes is Francisco, a dedicated member of Goodwill’s transportation department. Amidst a terrible car accident in Bellmawr, NJ, Francisco demonstrated exceptional kindness and bravery. When a vehicle spun out of control, crashing into a pole and emitting smoke, Francisco didn’t hesitate to spring into action. While bystanders observed and recorded the scene, Francisco’s immediate response was to assist. He stated, “If something happened to that man, I would never forgive myself.” His commitment to the injured individual surpassed any concern for personal safety, embodying the core values of Goodwill—empathy, kindness, and selflessness. By placing the injured individual’s needs before his own safety, Francisco captured the essence of Goodwill’s commitment to serving the local community. We extend our gratitude to Francisco for his heroism.