Information that's Good to Know

By: Leslie Hyder Labor Management Specialist Barton Malow Company

Volunteering at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit is one of the more rewarding volunteer experiences I have had personally. The Store Managers and staff went out of their way to make our volunteer experience fun while keeping us busy and super productive which is a win for everyone!

I volunteered with a group of 10 Barton Malow employees as a part of our company’s Community Week Volunteering Program. Our morning started with a short informational meeting about the services Goodwill provides to the community and we were all very surprised to learn the extent to which Goodwill serves. From education and training to parenting tips, interview assistance, job placement and mentoring, Goodwill has a hand in every aspect of a productive family and community life. This fit so well with our company’s vision of building with the American Spirit: People, Projects, and Community Involvement.

From education and training to parenting tips, interview assistance, job placement and mentoring, Goodwill has a hand in every aspect of a productive family and community life.

After the meeting, we were broken into two teams and given timed tasks to complete. Barton Malow team members love competition so we were ripe for the challenges and it was game on! We had a lot of fun dressing tables using the donated items in the store and then posting our table photos on Facebook and Twitter for votes.

two table settings created at a Goodwill Store.

Next, we pulled items from the sale racks that had specific color tags on them. The reason behind this is to keep store inventory fresh. Items that have been in stores for four weeks are put on a final markdown rack before being sent to the textile warehouse where clothes are repurposed into cloth squares that are sold as shop rags in the industrial market. Nothing is wasted! This task was also turned into a competition with our teams vying to fill the most number of racks. We worked at a fevered pace with the staff rushing to bring empty racks to us while trying to keep our counts up. (I mentioned we could be a little competitive with each other didn’t I?) This was a lot of fun, but it is also a very valuable service to the staff and must be done every week, so there is always room for a group of volunteers.

The second part of our shift was spent reorganizing shelves of games, books, and DVDs. Again this was made into a competition to see who could make the tidiest, most organized shelves in the least time. We rose to the challenge and had great fun egging each other on to do an awesome job!

The staff had us do a final task that was a lot of fun and tested our designer skills; we got to dress a male mannequin! We could choose any outfit we wanted but had to remove the prior outfit and redress the mannequin in the shortest time, with the most stylish new look. Golfer? Christmas Dad? Business Man? There were so many options! Should he have a hat? Find shoes to match the belt, but hurry!

This was an all-around great experience and I learned a lot about the company that I have shared with many people since. The staff was very complimentary about the amount of actual work we accomplished and its value to them. We felt like we had just spent a morning playing hooky at a play date with friends. We all left laughing and feeling fulfilled, agreeing that we would love to donate our time there again. I highly recommend taking a team of friends, co-workers or your family, and giving the Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit in your community some of your valuable volunteer time.

A small group Barton Malow employees pose for a group photo standing in front of the Goodwill Livonia Store.

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