The option to donate unwanted clothes, shoes, household items, functional appliances and electronic and good furniture to Goodwill Industries exists throughout the year. But on Saturday, the Brownwood store will conduct its annual donation drive, and area residents are encouraged to make a special effort to clean out their closets and storage units in support of Goodwill employees and customers.

It’s no coincidence that this event falls in October, which this year is the 19th annual observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

According to a statement by George W. Kessinger, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, the network of 186 community-based organizations in 17 countries is marking the month by reaffirming its commitment to helping people with disabilities find and keep good jobs so that they can support themselves and their families.

Labor statistics cited by Goodwill indicate that only one out of every three people with disabilities who want to work report being employed. Donations to Goodwill stores are sold locally, helping people with disabilities find and keep jobs so that they can support themselves and their families.

But Goodwill also strives to educate other employers of the value of employees with disabilities. Kessinger points out that 92 percent of employees with disabilities rated average or better in job performance, compared to 90 percent of employees without disabilities. Contrary to the assumptions of many, most workers with disabilities require no special accommodations, while the cost to accommodate those who do need assistance is minimal or often less than employers believe. In addition, a 30-year DuPont study found that employees with disabilities have above-average records in attendance, job dependability, performance and safety compared with their peers.

It is important that this nation continues to build on past reforms that have opened access to citizens with disabilities by promoting greater inclusiveness in the workplace and eliminating misconceptions by emphasizing these individuals’ abilities.

Helen Keller said, “I can not do everything, but still I can do something.” That in essence sums up the talents and abilities of each of us. Donating to Goodwill those clothes you can no longer use, or some furniture you no longer need, will not only de-clutter your own life, but it could also enhance the lives of others by creating employment opportunities at Goodwill.

The hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. Consider making the effort during this annual drive. If you can’t then, there’s always next week.

Brownwood Bulletin