Frequently asked questions answered!

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota President and CEO Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA answers frequently asked questions and shares his thoughts about the future.

Q: How is Goodwill doing, especially since stores are temporarily closed?
It’s not ideal because our stores provide critical revenue to fund our services and programs. But we’re still serving over 2,000 people using digital tools. We also want to be a good community partner.  We donated 1,300 masks to Health Partners and scrubs to several area hospitals. A senior center asked for puzzles and we delivered those too.

Q: Are people still dropping off donations at stores?
Yes, but unfortunately, we have no donation attendants to collect items from outside and we incur expenses for clean-up. While we’re grateful for the community’s generosity and I know it’s spring cleaning time, we’re asking people to save donations until we can resume full operations.  We’ll gladly take them when we re-open!

Q: How are you able to connect people to jobs in this new environment?
We were able to offer online support and learning right away. Connecting people to technology and meeting them where their skills are is very important right now. But the challenges people face in their daily lives can still present obstacles: we have a student having to travel to his mother’s home for internet access and another who lives in a large apartment complex with slow shared internet access.

Q: Are people getting jobs and finding new career paths?
Yes! Our work in connecting people to jobs every day is even more critical now.  Here are some great stories: 

  • A participant needed help with a business plan to open her own cleaning service.  Our employment support consultants assisted in filling out the forms necessary to open a small business last week.
  • We helped a woman with a disability who got a new job working from home to help small businesses get COVID-19-related loans understand the impact her new job will have on her benefits.
  • A participant has a speech challenge that makes telephone conversations difficult. Our support staff meets him in a parking lot and they talk through their car windows to maintain safe distance.

Q: When will you open stores again?
We’re hopeful to resume full operations as soon as we can ensure the safety of employees, customers, participants and the community.  We simply don’t know when that will happen.  Right now, we’re preparing our registers with sneeze guards, ordering PPE supplies for our staff and making plans around re-opening with safety first.

We’ve been around since 1919, supporting people in times of need like the Great Depression, world conflicts and more.  COVID-19 has really illuminated the inequities the people we serve face, and we’ll keep working to lift them up in times of need.

Q: What can people do to help nonprofits in the community? 
Many nonprofits in our community are still delivering services and we’re all navigating this together. People can lend support to our sector by volunteering or making a financial donation to an organization they care about that is making a difference in Minnesota.