Goodwill of Southern Ohio to hold first Halloween bash

By Tom Corrigan

The event is labeled Goodwill’s “Inaugural Halloween Bash and Live Auction.”

Goodwill of Southern Ohio Communications Director Jonathan Phillips said, however, the organization has held live auctions in the past.

“We’re calling it ‘inaugural’ because we are reinventing it,” Phillips said.

For the first time, the Goodwill fundraiser is a Halloween-themed party, complete with food and drink, a DJ and dancing. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

Tickets are advertised as including “heavy hors d’oeuvres.” But Phillips said those hors d’oeuvres will be more substantial than you might think.

“It’s going to be more like a meal. Come hungry,” he said, talking further about a somewhat unique mashed potato bar, apparently including different types of potatoes and lots of toppings. Phillips said the overall idea is to feed party goers but also to encourage them to walk around and mingle as they eat, checking out the items up for auction.

Phillips described those auction items as “eclectic.” As you might expect, some items were harvested from Goodwill collection sites, items planners thought would be of more than normal interest. Phillips also talked about tickets to the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra, the only professional orchestra in the area, performing in this case in Gallipolis. There also will be a Portsmouth themed auction package with gifts from the Scioto County Welcome Center among others.

Note Goodwill of Southern Ohio serves several counties around Scioto County, as well as two counties across the river in Kentucky, a fact which might broaden the appeal of the event but also explains why some auction items are for events not necessarily in Portsmouth’s backyard.

Phillips spent a good deal of time talking about where money raised from the event will go and who benefits. He said when many people think of Goodwill, they automatically picture one of the nonprofit organization’s resale stores. Phillips talked about numerous programs, primarily designed to help persons with disabilities find and retain appropriate employment. Eligible persons go through job training, resume development and so on.

“It’s a rigorous process,” Phillips said.

Phillips seemed especially proud of a new vocational program set up at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. He said most people don’t think of inmates at the facility returning to the workforce and indeed, Phillips said, many don’t. Some will spend the rest of their lives in there or be transferred to a lower security facility prior to their release. Still, Phillips said there are Lucasville inmates who leave that facility and return to public life. Before Goodwill stepped in, he said the prison had no job training programs for inmates returning to society.

The Goodwill Halloween Bash is slated for 6-10 p.m. Thursday at Shawnee State University’s Sodexo Ballroom, which is inside the SSU University Center. Tickets are $25 for individuals or $40 per couple. They are available at the Goodwill corporate office, 324 Chillicothe St., in Portsmouth. The office is located adjacent to the Goodwill bookstore. Tickets also will be available at the door. Adult beverages will be available via a cash bar. Soda, coffee and tea are included with the price of admission.

By Tom Corrigan