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Many people recognize Goodwill for their retail locations, but the non-profit is much more than that offering a variety of services and programs true to their mission to provide training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages who seek greater independence.
One example is Goodwill’s commercial laundry and linen operation which has provided clean linens to local hospitals and clinics since 1974, when they began handling laundry for Naval Station Great Lakes, a U.S. Naval Base. Currently, Goodwill operates one of the largest laundry facilities in Wisconsin, processing laundry for customers in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.
“We’re one of the only vendors in healthcare laundry where the product is delivered directly to the patient,” said Danny Harris, director linen services. “Our team understands that the right linen, in the right place, at the right time has a tremendous impact on patient experience.”
As an essential business, workers at the laundry facility are on the front lines now more than ever, supporting health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Goodwill Laundry & Linen staff are equipped to handle infectious diseases and other viruses that would typically be treated at a hospital, however as guidelines change to combat COVID-19, so have the safety precautions being taken in the laundry facility.
“As a partner of the AbilityOne Program, over 60% of the laundry employees have significant disabilities. Along with making sure employees are current with their standard training, our team is practicing the recommended guidelines including social distancing, hand washing, wearing protective equipment and staying home when sick,” explained Harris.
Additionally, Goodwill nursing staff monitors all employees, screening every person each day they report to work to ensure they remain healthy.
Last week, former Green Bay Packers player and spokesperson Donald Driver sent the Goodwill Laundry & Linen staff a special message of encouragement to let them know he was thinking of them and proud of the work they’re doing.
“I’ve always been proud of the work that you all do,” said Driver. “But I’m even more proud today than ever. You’re on the front lines of this fight…you guys are true heroes.”
Scale operator Donald Young was blown away to receive the message and shared that he appreciated the kind words. “To know that you’re doing something for someone else during a time when a lot of people need help, that’s amazing.”
“With capacity to process more than 20 million pounds of linen annually, we’re here to be a community partner to any healthcare facility that needs help during this critical time,” shared Harris.