Last updated: July 25. 2013 9:02AM - 217 Views

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Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

The city of Portsmouth on Tuesday presented Goodwill Industries of Southern Ohio, Inc., with a special proclamation declaring this “Goodwill Week” in the city in participation of National Goodwill Week, May 5-11.

Everyone knows about Goodwill stores of gently-used items, but Goodwill Executive Director Lenore Mason reminds people that the reason for those stores is to support Goodwill’s true mission to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages find employment.

“It gives people independence by them being able to have a paycheck,” Mason said.

The non-profit Goodwill organization was created in Boston, Mass., by Reverend Edward Helms in 1902.

“Through his church he was helping people by giving to charity and donating,” Mason said. “He went to the more affluent communities in Boston and collected items and brought them back to the church. He refurbished, washed and mended those items and sold them, and from that revenue gave the workers a paycheck. So it’s a hand-up, not a hand-out,” Mason said.

The Portsmouth location became an independent district in 1977, with 10 employees covering Scioto, Lawrence, Gallia and Meigs Counties in Ohio, and Greenup and Lewis Counties in Kentucky. They have continued to grow from their original Ninth Street location, and now employ 50 people at all of their regional locations — including their retail store on Robinson Avenue and their bookstore and corporate office side-by-side on Chillicothe Street.

“In 2003 we opened the Greenup store location. In 2004 we opened up the Middleport store location. In 2009 we opened up the Vanceburg location. In 2007 we relocated the Gallipolis location, and just last fall we relocated the Chesapeake location to South Point,” Mason said.

Goodwill Board President George Moore said each of their stores have been successful in their area.

“We’re glad to help the community with what we can, and the community has been a help to us. They support us strongly,” Moore said. “All of that put together helps us help a lot of people in need through jobs and through the need of the product.”

Mason said their stores are leaders in recycling. Not only do they recycle all plastic, metal and cardboard boxes, they also recycle their retail items by sending unsold inventory to needy communities in Africa.

In recognition of National Goodwill Week, May 5-11, the local stores are hosting a week of open houses with special sales and free refreshments.

“The proclamation is telling people in the city that they should support the Goodwill Industry, and we’re just recognizing them for the good work that they do here for the service they provide to our community, and for the jobs that they provide,” said Jeanette Langford, administrative assistant to Portsmouth Mayor David Malone, who presented the proclamation on Tuesday.

More information about Goodwill is available online at www.goodwill.org. Their Portsmouth retail store is located at 1910 Robinson Ave., and the Goodwill bookstore is located at 322 Chillicothe St., in Portsmouth, next door to the Goodwill Industries of Southern Ohio office.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.

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