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A Police Officer Asked Goodwill Store To Donate A Pair Of Shoes To A Homeless Woman — They Refused

Photo: kali9 / Canva Pro
police officer smiling

It’s always nice to see a police officer doing something kind to give back to the community they serve.

One officer tried to do just that by acquiring a pair of shoes for a homeless woman who didn’t have any. Unfortunately, his plan didn’t work out the way he expected.

Goodwill store employees refused to donate a pair of shoes to a homeless woman in need.

A police officer in an undisclosed location entered a Goodwill store and explained his situation to the employee at the counter.

“I have a homeless woman down at a gas station who has no shoes,” he said. “Is that something you might be able to help us out with?”



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The woman working at the checkout counter called up another employee who knew the police officer. After some discussion between him and two other employees who appeared to be managers, the man gave the officer some disappointing news.

“Honestly, I don’t know that we’re allowed, to tell you the truth,” he said.

The police officer bounced back quickly from this setback, and responded, “Okay. No worries. Do you have any that are for sale?”

The employee then showed him to the shoe section of the store, where the officer picked out a pair of flip-flops and purchased them for the woman.

People were very upset that the store refused to help a woman in need, calling into question how charitable the charity truly was.

“Isn’t that all donated? And they couldn’t donate,” one person commented on TikTok. “So they couldn’t donate donated shoes?” another asked.

There’s plenty of controversy surrounding Goodwill.

It’s not uncommon to hear negative opinions about Goodwill. Country Living did a deep dive into why people feel this way and found, “The criticisms likely stem from a chain email that began circulating in 2005 and later became a widely shared graphic titled, ‘Think Before You Donate.’”

The email claimed that the CEO of Goodwill is actually a millionaire who makes a profit off of all items sold in the stores.

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Despite the information circulating that Goodwill is a for-profit company, the exact opposite is true. According to Country Living, “Founded in 1902, Goodwill Industries International is, in fact, a nonprofit organization, and the money its thrift stores make goes toward community programs like job training, placement services, and classes for people who have disabilities or are otherwise challenged in finding traditional employment.”

Nevertheless, Goodwill may still not be exactly what it seems. It’s easy to assume that when you donate to your local Goodwill location, those items go straight into the store and stay there for shoppers to peruse. That’s not quite the case.

HuffPost looked into what really happens to Goodwill donations. It turns out that they do start out in the store you donated them to. However, like any store, Goodwill has to stay on top of its inventory and make sure items don’t stay in the store for too long. If an item hasn’t been sold within four weeks, “it’s sent onward in the process.”

The next stop is a Goodwill outlet store, where items are sold at deep discounts. Whatever doesn’t sell at the outlet is sold in bins at auction. The next step is “textile recycling organizations,” and then landfills. “The amount they send is small — just five percent of all donations — but it all adds up to the ridiculous amount of clothing waste in landfills nationwide,” said HuffPost.

While Goodwill seems to really have good intentions, there’s no denying the rumors swirling that the company is profiting, or the fact that some items do end up in landfills. And the inability to donate a simple pair of flip-flops certainly does raise some eyebrows. 

It’s good to know that there are people out there like this police officer who are willing to step in and help somebody when it’s needed, even if it’s at their own expense.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.