Organization request donors still hold on to donations to allow time to keep up with intake
St. Louis, MO. (May 6, 2020) — MERS Missouri Goodwill Industries will reopen 23 of its 44 retail stores and donations centers on Thursday, May 7, 2020 in accordance to and under the direction of federal, state, and local guidelines. The stores in outlying Missouri areas where the order has been lifted including stores in St. Charles County and Franklin County will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For a full list of store locations visithttps://mersgoodwill.org/open-locations/.
The shorter hours will provide extra time to clean and disinfect the stores, and the openings will include revised policies to limit exposure to others, including PPE for employees, extra training for cleaning and protection screenings, store capacity limits and social distancing, updated donation quarantine and acceptance policy.Goodwill is also asking donors to keep holding on to their stockpiled donations to allow time to keep up with the heavy traffic of intake expected to amass in the next few weeks.
“We know this has been and still is a difficult time for all of us,” said Dave Kutchback, president and CEO of MERS Goodwill. “We are concerned that with shorter hours, shorter staff and the onslaught of need to buy goods and donate goods, that we could be overwhelmed but we are committed to helping the community. Reopening stores with the safety and wellbeing of our staff and our donors and shoppers will be our top priority.”
MERS Goodwill will be implementing safety measures as outlined by the government and CDC guidelines including:
- Masks or other face coverings will be required to enter the store.
- There will be occupancy limitations for customers set by the governing city/county. Goodwill will have a member of management stationed at each door to help facilitate that
- Goodwill will not allow for customers to bring in their own bags. They will encourage shoppers to bag items at cars or purchase a Goodwill reusable bag for $1.00.
- Goodwill associates will be cleaning carts and all touch points throughout the store on an ongoing basis.
- Stores and donation spaces will be practicing social distancing in by asking customers and staff to maintain a six feet space between others. Arrows will be on the floor as a guide.
- Dressing rooms will be closed. However, they will be extending its 7-day clothing return policy to 14 days.
- Goodwill will now be accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay for the convenience of touchless checkout and the stores have installed plexiglass at all registers.
With regard to donations, MERS Goodwill donations will be accepted only at the stores that are open. In keeping with government and CDC guidelines, Goodwill will be taking precautions to keep everyone safe and will be using a “self-service” donation process. Goodwill asks donors to unload their own vehicles and place donations in the containers provided.
“The community and the programs we serve need us now, more than ever,” said Kutchback. “We have put procedures into place to keep everyone safe and will continue to monitor the situation, including immediately changing the way our supporters will donate their items. And, we still ask for our donors to hang on to some of their donations for when we’re fully operational and staffing is back to normal, as not to overwhelm the system.”
Goodwill will not be able to accept donations that do not fit in the provided containers. That size is approximately 40” x 40”. They ask that donors do not leave donations on the ground or at the door. It’s imperative for everyone’s safety that donations go into a container. These containers will then be placed in a truck where they will be isolated for 72 hours and will be safe for our staff to handle and ultimately to be sold.
Goodwill depends on the revenue from their stores to provide free career services to the community. They plan to re-open St. Louis City and St. Louis County and Illinois area stores as soon as the stay at home order is lifted in those areas.
“With unemployment at an all-time high, we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help those displaced by the current situation and start laying the foundations to find our new normal,” said Kutchback. “We look forward to serving our loyal customers and donors once again to help us further our mission of changing lives through the power of work.”
About MERS Missouri Goodwill Industries
Celebrating over 100 years, MERS Goodwill changes lives through the power of work. Its vision is a community where each individual has the opportunity to learn, work, and achieve their greatest potential. Annually serving more than 30,000 individuals, the non-profit agency operates in 47 locations serving 93 counties in the bi-state area. Revenues from 44 Goodwill stores assist with funding MERS Goodwill job training and employment services. MERS Goodwill is a proud member of the United Way. For more information about MERS Goodwill or to find a Goodwill donation center near you, call 314-241-3464 or visit www.mersgoodwill.org.