As each month unfolds, we’ll take a look at the people behind the scenes here at Goodwill – the men and women who work in the Astoria warehouse day in and day out. Did you know that one of the reasons Goodwill collects donations and operates thrift stores is to provide our clients with job opportunities? Well, it’s true – and they certainly deserve it!
The people who work at Goodwill come from all kinds of backgrounds, and they have taken the initiative to accept Goodwill’s hand up (not a hand out) and join the working world. They are why we do what we do – and we are delighted to share a little peek into their day with you.
“A Beautiful Morning” is playing on the radio. We’re in the middle of the sorting section of the Goodwill warehouse in the Astoria headquarters. It’s past noon, but everyone still looks excited and fresh.
“I have worked here for 24 years,” a woman says, holding up a bright pink and purple pillow. She is Jane Jules-Louis, and she works for Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.
Jane is one of the lead sorters in the housewares section, and her days are spent separating donations, tossing the bad apples and catching the good finds, pricing all the items with her discretion, and placing them in boxes to be sent out to the stores in the NYC boroughs, Long Island, Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey.
“Jane is a very intrigruaural part of our team here at Goodwill,” says Donated Goods Manager Randy Levitt. That’s because Jane really is the keeper of the keys to the kingdom. Working alongside her team, she helps produce all the needed household items for new store openings. With something like 90% experience and 10% intuition, Jules knows how to price all the items that pass through her area (which could be anything from an American Flag to an eight piece spaceship-themed sheet set) and – even more important – where exactly each of these items should end up, from the Goodwill store in Downtown Brooklyn, to the Goodwill store in East Brunswick, NJ.
“This is my area,” Jane informs us, smiling broadly as she instructs her team of housewares sorters to line up for a photo. Both Marion Reynolds and Laura Nunez respect Jane’s area, checking in for her advice on certain items, helping her open up boxes to show off an especially good find.
“This, this is my favorite,” Jane says, pointing out a stunning full duvet set in powered blue. But when we ask her what we should photograph, she heads back to the pink and purple pillow, pairs it with a cartoon comforter, and comes up, in under a minute, with the perfect princess bedroom.
Jane certainly has an eye for a good deal, and, after 24 years on the housewares line, she is just as proud as ever to pass that deal on to all Goodwill customers. Donate your own housewares and give Jane something stunning to look forward to; just remember, those eight-piece Egyptian cotton 800 thread-count sheet sets really make her day!