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Home » Future of Fashion » How Shopping Is Helping Give Back

Ever wonder if there is an easier way to clean out your closets and shop sustainably? Your newly-organized closet has the power to help the planet and your community through Goodwill® and Give Back Box®.

Major retailers partner with Give Back Box to encourage its shoppers to reuse the containers from their online purchases to mail their unwanted clothing and household items to organizations like Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley. 

“The Give Back Box program creates an amazing platform for you to easily donate your items to nonprofit organizations like Goodwill,” says Michael H. Meyer, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley in Maryland, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Here’s how it works: Fill any box with items, print a prepaid shipping label on, drop off the package at the designated shipping locations or schedule a pick-up, and you’re done. Donors can even request a receipt when they create an account.  


Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, which takes pride in being sustainable by reducing waste, reusing, and recycling, receives those mailed Give Back Boxes and resells them online exclusively at

Those sales translate into opportunities for the nonprofit to support the community.

“We focus on the employment and job training for people with barriers to work, which was the initial mission of Goodwill. And we do that primarily through job creation,” Meyer says, explaining his location employs 375 people, including individuals coming out of prison, recovering addicts, single mothers, and those with developmental disabilities. 

“We can provide the wraparound supports to make sure that that individual has everything that he or she needs to be successful.”

Donated items are given a second life and have a significant environmental impact. The average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing annually. Last year, Goodwill recovered the value in more than 4 billion pounds of clothing and household items within the United States and Canada. 

In addition to saving items from the landfills, shopping those donated items can help preserve valuable resources, including water used to create fabric for new clothing. Over 700 gallons of water — equivalent to 40 showers — are used to make a single cotton t-shirt. It takes more than 1,800 gallons of water — the amount of water the average person drinks over the span of 5-6 years — to make one pair of jeans. 

Thrifting thrills

Shopping, the second largest auction site in the world, is a buyer’s thrill.

“Thrifting to me is just so fun,” says Priscilla Andalia, founder of Best Trends For Life blog. “You can shop the trends that are going on currently but in a very unique way. Instead of buying from fast fashion, you’ll get something that’s on the same kind of trend track, but has its own uniqueness to it. You’re not going to see someone else wearing the identical thing.”

Andalia, who’s currently collaborating with Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, loves the sustainability and deals, including competitive bids on luxury items.

She especially likes shopping for vintage items, including 90s apparel. She shares her fashion finds on her blog and on Instagram. 

Doing good

With thousands of new items listed on the site daily, it’s a virtual treasure hunt for shoppers. Whether selling items in store or online, the organization uses the money to help people live better lives by providing jobs and training.

They’re also using their e-commerce operations to provide more future-forward job training. That includes partnering with a local college on an e-commerce training and certificate program to help veterans and others prepare for careers in online retail. Employees with these e-commerce job skills are in-demand and typically earn more than employees working in traditional brick-and-mortar retail jobs.

From accepting and reselling donated items to supporting the community through job creation and skills development, Goodwill is a full-circle operation. They’re fulfilling their mission to do good.

Shoppers like Andalia are impressed: “You’re giving back to a nonprofit, so I think it’s just a win-win-win.”

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