Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Goodwill donations needed to support job skills training

A decline in donations to Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina this past winter may mean bad news for the thousands of people who are retraining or adding skills to find meaningful jobs.

Sales of donated items in Goodwill’s retail stores directly fund workforce development services that have helped place 5,120 people into jobs in northwest North Carolina in 2013 and 1,110 in the Asheville area alone. That means that, across northwest North Carolina last year, every 23 minutes of every business day, Goodwill helped someone find a job.

“Donations are at the heart of our success,” says Josh Pierce, Director of Workforce Development Services for Goodwill’s western NC locations. “Our business model is simple and self-sustaining – people donate items; we sell those items in our retail stores; we take the revenue from sales and invest it in skills training and youth programs that make a difference right here in our local community.

Goodwill serves more than 36,000 people in northwest North Carolina each year. Offerings include college credit and continuing education courses specifically targeted to local employer needs. Courses in healthcare, computer technology, and hospitality are examples of current focus areas. In addition, Goodwill’s Career Connections Centers provide job readiness training and job search assistance, including topics such as creating a winning resume, filling out a job application, and dressing appropriately for interviews.

Donations of any kind are urgently needed: clothing, electronics, home goods, furniture, jewelry, books, computer equipment and shoes are in high demand. There are more than 100 Goodwill donation centers and drop off locations in northwest North Carolina, and 27 in Buncombe County alone; most are open 7 days a week. To locate a drop-off site or retail store, visit

Habitat ReStore to host food drive for MANNA - April 5th

The Habitat ReStore at 31 Meadow Road will host a one-day food drive for MANNA FoodBank on Saturday, April 5 from 9am-6pm.  Customers who bring 5 cans of food will receive a 20% discount on purchases made that day. ReStore proceeds support Asheville Area Habitat’s home building programs.

Lack of safe, decent and affordable housing and hunger are both conditions of poverty.  Every day, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and MANNA FoodBank work to eradicate poverty housing and hunger, respectively. The April 5th food drive provides community residents the opportunity to simultaneously support both non-profits.

“For the sixth consecutive year, we will offer one-day 20% discount incentive in hopes of collecting at least 800 pounds of food for MANNA FoodBank,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.  

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County hosts 23rd Annual Spelling Bee - April 24th

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County will hold “Bee in Harmony,” a music-themed Spelling Bee, on April 24, 2014 at “On Broadway” in downtown Asheville. Beginning at 6 pm, fifteen teams of three adults each will compete in the most spirited and outrageous word challenge of their lives. This isn’t your average spelling bee. Teams must have both spelling and concentration skills in order to disregard the pandemonium caused by a costumed, cheering audience! Host David Ostergaard, formerly of Lazoom, keeps the audience laughing

Spelling Bee teams are sponsored by local businesses, non-profits, community associations, colleges, book clubs and friends.  Participating teams this year include Chestnut, The Laurel of Asheville, Blackbird, Wicked Weed, Chai Pani, Kudzu Branding, WNC Woman, Malaprops, Pack Memorial Library, and many others! Entertainment will be provided by local musicians, including a full barbershop chorus.

The community is invited to join the audience, prepared to cheer their favorite team to victory with hats, horns, placards and cheering. Audience members are asked to contribute $10.00 at the door. The entry fee includes a complimentary dessert reception sponsored by Blackbird and Earth Fare. A cash bar will be available, and prizes will be awarded to the audience members with the best costumes!

For more information, please contact Brantlee Eisenman at 828-254-3442 or by email at