The mission of Goodwill stores is to support care services and job training for those in need. As the father of some special needs kids myself, I admire the work they do in providing training and job opportunities for those with job barriers. The good work they do helps these folks become productive members of their communities and builds self-esteem.

So when Goodwill in Gloucester County becomes needy themselves it gets your attention.

The Goodwill Store & Donation Center at 475 Hurfville-Cross Keys Rd. in Washington Township suffered a fire in the middle of the night on Jan. 15 and has been closed ever since. Mark Boyd, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, says they lost 100% of their inventory.

Every bit of merchandise that had been donated to them by a generous public to sell and raise money for their programs has been decimated. What wasn't burned up in the fire was so badly damaged by smoke it had to be discarded.

They are determined to go on.

This Tuesday they plan on having in place at the burned-out site a trailer where people can resume donations. They hope people will help them rebuild their inventory so they can get back to the business of helping those who really need it.

Donations will be accepted this way weekdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Again, it's a true community effort. Boyd told, "By collecting, recycling and selling gently-used items in our retail stores, we are able to fund our mission-based programs that are available free of charge to the local community. I encourage the Sewell community to open their hearts and closets to Goodwill to assist us in rebuilding the Sewell store.”

The cause of the January 15 fire remains under investigation according to Goodwill, and the location's 30 employees have been reassigned to other Goodwill centers.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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