DEAR ABBY: For 100 years, Americans have shopped in our stores and faithfully contributed clothing and household items to Goodwill Industries. It all began back in 1902, when Edgar J. Helms, a young Methodist minister, took a burlap bag and called on Boston's wealthy citizens to donate whatever clothing they could spare. The Goodwill store was born when Helms hired people in need to repair and sell the donated goods.
Since then, Goodwill Industries has remained true to Helms' compassionate vision. It has evolved into one of the world's largest providers of employment services, helping nearly 6 million people earn a paycheck and support their families.
Last year, Goodwill Industries placed someone in a good job every two minutes of every business day. We train thousands of people in the United States, Canada and 22 other countries for jobs in fields such as financial services, computer programming, hospitality and health care.
As we pause to remember our many blessings this year, we want to say "Thank you" to the 500 million donors who have supported us since 1902, and to the millions more who have shopped at Goodwill stores. "Thank you" to the thousands of volunteers (including your mother, Pauline Phillips) who have given us their time and expertise. "Thank you" to the employees of Goodwill Industries, past and present, who have built an agency that serves 500,000 people each year.
Thank you one and all for believing in the "Power of Work," and for believing in Goodwill Industries. -- GEORGE W. KESSINGER, PRESIDENT, GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL
DEAR GEORGE: My mother said it very well back in 1969 when she joined your Board of Advisors: "Because I have boundless respect for those whose prime objective is to help themselves, I feel privileged to be on your team."
May you and all of the other wonderful people at Goodwill Industries International enjoy continued success in your endeavors -- and thank YOU for all you have done for others.