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April 22, 2024

Guest Column | With 6 Drive-Thru Donation Sites, Goodwill Central Coast Focuses on the Art of Convenience

We all crave convenience. It makes our lives easier, and allows us to spend our time on what we find meaningful, such as family and personal goals and pursuits.

Because the lifeblood of Goodwill Central Coast centers on community donations, the tri-county nonprofit goes to great lengths to make donating second-hand goods as convenient as possible by maintaining dozens of fully staffed donation centers throughout the region.

A handful of them (with more to come) make use of one of America’s greatest institutions — the drive-thru. The driving force behind the rise of fast food restaurants, the first drive-thru launched in 1947 — and it wasn’t McDonald’s! That designation belongs to Red’s Giant Hamburg on Route 66 in Springfield, Mo., which first allowed cars to pull up to a window to pay for and receive food.

Fast-forward into the 21st century and Goodwill Central Coast provides 30 donation centers throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties — six of them now offering drive-thru service for an extra layer of convenience. The centers allow residents to give their gently used items a second life while helping support GCC’s mission to create sustainable job opportunities and strengthen communities in the process.

Those who love the idea of purging closets and garages look for the friendly “Smiling G” logo and trademark blue and orange signage visible throughout the Central Coast. At each center, Goodwill’s donation attendants help clients, keep the area clean, and help prevent the theft of donated items.

A list of GCC donation centers can be found online at ccgoodwill.org/donate/goodwill-donation-centers/. The following six donation sites offer convenient drive-thru service:

In a typical year, GCC receives more than 630,000 donations, totaling more than 25 million pounds of clothing and household items. From those generous donations, GCC diverts more than 17 million pounds from landfills, helping preserve and protect the Central Coast landscape. And the money raised helps fund programs that put more than 13,000 people back to work, while helping rehabilitate others who are trying to be productive members of society.

With multiple, convenient drop-off sites, GCC makes it easy for anyone to have an impact on their local economy and the environment.

It begins with a purge

We’ve all collected a few impulse buys or things we don’t need over the years. Whatever reason someone has for holding on to these items, it is time to start letting those things go once and for all.

Do any of these excuses sound familiar? “I paid good money for it.” “I might need it someday.” “Someone gave that to me as a gift.” “A family member left me that item in their will.”

If you’re wondering if you really need to purge, there are probably clues all around you:

  1. Your “containers” are no longer containing the things you own in that category.
  2. You are spending more time organizing a space than it’s worth.
  3. Something doesn’t have a home in your home.
  4. You can no longer park your car (or even walk through) your garage.

The bottom line is, if you don’t use an item, if you don’t need or love an item, then it doesn’t belong in your home. Wellness experts say that a home should be a sanctuary, not a place that is cluttered and overwhelming.

Here are some purging tips to help create a more Zen atmosphere around your home:

  • Be honest about how often you use things: If something has collected dust for six months or more, there is no valid reason to keep it. If it helps, imagine the item in someone else’s loving hands, following their Goodwill purchase, and a third party removing obstacles to employment.
  • Get rid of duplicate items: This could include things like spare spatulas, having too many cups that are similar, etc. Check out your junk drawer, your shoe rack and old toy chests. There is surprising power in owning just one!
  • Fill a “maybe” box: For things that you’re still not sure about, get a box and write “donate by X date” on it. If you find that you’re missing those items, go in the box and get them. But when the date comes, anything still in the box gets automatically donated!

What to donate

GCC is especially interested in donated clothing, shoes, housewares, small electrical items, and small electronics.

What’s more, all monetary donations and donations of clothing and household goods that are in “good” condition or better are entitled to a tax deduction, according to Federal law. The Internal Revenue Service requires that all charitable donations be itemized and valued, and GCC provides an estimated value list at ccgoodwill.org/donate/tax-deductions/.

In addition, Goodwill Central Coast provides the following services:

  • Free home pickups are available for large amounts of items (some restrictions apply). Those interested should send their address, telephone number and pictures of the items they would like picked up to [email protected].
  • Free weekly or monthly pickup service from Businesses/schools/organizations (please contact donor services at 800-894-8440).
  • Donation drives which can net an organization, school, club or nonprofit thousands of dollars are available this fall and the spring of next year in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

For donating high value items, call GCC donor services at 800-894-8440.


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