DUBOIS – Students in the Penn State DuBois Business Society are ‘walking the Silver Mile’ for Goodwill Industries this fall. Starting in October, the students will collect money through can drives during campus athletic events and at other locations on campus, as well as at area businesses.
The campaign, which aims to collect the majority of its donations in the form of loose change, has a goal of raising $15,840. It’s called the Silver Mile because that amount of money, in quarters, would stretch for one mile if laid out in a straight line.
“Most people know us from our stores, but the stores really just support what we do,” said President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of North Central PA, Ray Donati. He explained that Goodwill receives no government or charitable funding, and is supported solely on sales from their retail stores, and the donations of used items made at those locations.
Donati then said that the organization’s mission runs much deeper than retail operations. He said Goodwill Industries’ core mission is to help people with disabilities find jobs, and keep those jobs. Job coaches reach out to employers, and jobseekers alike. They learn the jobs that need to be filled, and then train jobseekers in how to do them.
“We have job coaches who work to train people with disabilities to do jobs. We help those people keep jobs. Employers have their employees trained for free, and the workers remain productive people. They’re not collecting unemployment or welfare, but they’re working and contributing.”
Goodwill of North Central PA alone employs more than 400 people in its 13 county service area. Employees work at Goodwill’s 19 retail outlets, and at their facility in Falls Creek, Jefferson County, where donations are sorted and processed before they are placed up for sale at the stores, or online.
Members of the Penn State DuBois Business Society recently toured Goodwill’s Falls Creek facility, and were inspired to support the organization.
“After witnessing Goodwill’s operation first hand, we believe in their mission and want to help Goodwill to continue their tradition of making a difference in people’s lives and the communities they serve,” said Business Society President Beau Hooftallen. “We have chosen to utilize the Business Society’s talents and core values to help put people to work.”
Hooftallen said a date to wrap up the Silver Mile campaign has not been set. He hopes to keep the fund drive going as long as it takes to reach the $15,840 goal.