BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Those who have been looking to donate those old clothes, books, or toys haven’t been able to go to a goodwill store in about two months. The pandemic shuttered all eight Kern County locations, but now four of them are back open for donations and sales. The stores provide opportunities and donations to people with barriers to employment.
“Those barriers can range anywhere from people with disabilities, to people with social disadvantages, a criminal background, so we kind of take a broad swath there, but that’s primarily where your donation goes," said Jake Slayton, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of South Central California.
The stores opening are:
-3025 Coffee Road, in Northwest Bakersfield
-6465 Ming Avenue, in Southwest Bakersfield
-2671 Oswell Street, East Bakersfield
-411 Finley Drive, in Taft
Donations have been open at those stores since Monday. And Slayton says, so far, the process has gone well.
“Basically the donor drives up, and we just basically have boxes outside that are categorized and the donor drops it off themselves instead of us coming outside, normally we would just take it out of their car," he said.
And that’s not the only way that stores are modified to accommodate public health concerns.
“All the employees will have face masks. The customers we are requiring to wear face masks as well because the stores can get really busy and a lot of people can be in there so we want to protect everyone," Slayton said.
Like many other stores, Goodwill will also have Plexiglas screens and social distancing markings on the floor for when customers shop. Officials say all donations will be quarantined for 72 hours before hitting store shelves, per CDC recommendations.
Goodwill says they have a tentative plan to soon reopen the other locations in Kern County, but they are holding off on any announcements until they see how this first phase of re-openings go.