On March 20, 2020, the pandemic shut down the 21 retail stores and seven standalone donation facilities run by our nonprofit organization, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut. Worse, the crisis forced us to shutter our seven career centers, which help Connecticut residents get back to work free of charge. The outlook was bleak. How would we uphold our mission when we couldn’t even open our doors?
Like many organizations, we seized the opportunity to pivot. We implemented a contact-free “drop and go” model at our donation locations, hoping our donors of gently used items would continue to think of us as they were tackling their housebound pandemic projects. And we shifted our career centers to a virtual model, ensuring that we could deliver our vital services and keep many Connecticut residents employed in that very different landscape.