Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day through Goodwill’s mission to create jobs

We all know what red letter day we circle in February, and although Valentine’s Day celebrates love, it’s often fraught with stress and expectations.

Consider a holiday equally wrapped in love — and observed just three days later. Random Acts of Kindness Day is a dedicated observance on Feb. 17 that promotes and celebrates unconditional acts of kindness — for all. The essential purpose of this day is to foster an enhanced awareness surrounding the positive impact that simple acts can have upon society as a whole, and on individuals, in particular.

Goodwill Central Coast supports this idea through our Mission Services, but we believe the underlying message should extend beyond just a single day. A great way to support this idea is to tap into GCC’s “engine” to foster community growth through the power of employment. Purchases at any of GCC’s 16 retail stores across three counties, or donations at one of its 29 donation centers, help fuel this change. Whether those donations are unwanted clothing, household items, the gift of money or the gift of time through volunteerism, every bit of kindness matters.

While the exact origin of Random Acts of Kindness Day is not known, it is believed to be rooted in a 1995 book titled “Random Acts of Kindness,” which inspired a cultural movement in America. In this context, it has grown in popularity over the years, championed by institutions and organizations seeking to foster a culture of reaching out to others. Specific to America, this day holds significant importance as it encourages individuals to create a stronger sense of community spirit.

That spirit is generated in many ways, but at GCC we place our focus on removing obstacles to employment — the center of our mission. Barriers such as homelessness, military service, single parenting, incarceration, addiction, and job displacement can define a person’s identity, even when they have so much more to offer. At GCC we work hard every day to strip away those barriers to reveal a whole person worthy of dignity.

Through Goodwill we provide free employment services, putting all our resources behind an individual’s search to find a meaningful, rewarding job that complements their abilities. Our assistance extends beyond Career Centers into subsidized job placement, financial counseling, tax preparation and much more.

Through a partnership with a broad network of organizations, we also strive to make a difference through our Opportunity Platform that helps individuals work toward economic self-sufficiency.

The program helps those living at 125 percent or below the federal poverty line to reach financial independence by working one-on-one (in-person or online) with an expert. It helps clients navigate through vulnerable situations, chart a path toward stability, and reach individual goals.

In a typical year, GCC receives more than 630,000 donations, totaling more than 25 million pounds of clothing and household items. From those generous donations, we divert more than 17 million pounds from landfills, helping preserve and protect the Central Coast landscape. And the money raised helps fund programs that put thousands of people back to work, while helping rehabilitate others who are trying to be productive members of society.

With multiple, convenient drop-off sites, GCC makes it easy for anyone to have an impact on their local economy and the environment. It’s a win-win proposition — for the people and the planet.

But what happens in households across the Central Coast is truly remarkable. Employment is a life changer. It brings empowerment, self-sufficiency, independence and pride. That simply cannot be measured.

So if you find yourself wanting to make an impact on Random Acts of Kindness Day, buy a coffee for a stranger, compliment someone, help a neighbor in need. All of those spread kindness in diverse ways, and their cumulative impact is significant. The power of human connectivity lies within our small acts of kindness. And it’s contagious!

An easy way to spread such kindness is by thumbing through your closet, attic or cluttered garage in search of community gold — those unwanted or unused objects that hold so much power. GCC accepts everything from clothing and accessories to small household appliances and furniture, electronics, books, fine china, art and other collectibles in good or new condition.

Donate your stuff, and you’ll help create jobs for scores of your friends and neighbors. Just like that, you’re a job creator. And that’s a kindness that cannot be underestimated.

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