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Goodwill marks celebration with open house

CHESAPEAKE — It’s was pink carnations for the women customers and doughnuts and cookies for all at Friday’s open house at the Goodwill store in Chesapeake.

The celebration was the culmination of the national Goodwill Week that started on Sunday.

The Chesapeake store is one of six in the southeast Ohio district that includes Gallipolis, Middleport, Greenup, Ky., Vanceburg, Ky., and Portsmouth. The Vanceburg store is the latest in the district, opening up about a month ago.

Laid out like a big department store, the Goodwill shop offers men’s, women’s, children’s and infant’s clothing as well as big and small household items from furniture to crystal and dishes to new mattresses to decorator dolls.

The Chesapeake store opened in 1990 and has four employees on staff. Donations come in daily from the village as well as Huntington, W.Va., and farther up river.

“This helps the community with lower prices and we hire the disadvantaged,” Sylvia Javins, store manager, said.

The concept of Goodwill began in Boston when a young Methodist missionary, Rev. Edgar Helms, saw the impoverished immigrants struggling to survive in Boston’s South End. To help them, he went among the wealthy in the city asking for their castoffs.

His plan had been to give away the items, but the recipients wouldn’t accept a handout.

That’s when he took the items and set up a small store with the income from the operation to pay the wages of those who helped him in the store.

Later that income was channeled into educational opportunities for those immigrants such as basic education and language training.

Today there are more than 2,000 Goodwill stores with 173 regional organizations in the United States and Canada and 24 across the world.