Goodwill opens new donation center in Groundhog Plaza

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Goodwill has opened a new donation center in the Groundhog Plaza, near Burger King. The building was provided by Bob Johnson, of Johnson Motors in DuBois, and the space was provided by Joe Varacallo, of Developac Realty.

“We had one at this exact location many years ago, and we ended up having to close it due to some economic conditions,” said Ray Donati, president and CEO of North Central PA Goodwill Industries. “We’ve decided to reopen it because of the fact that it makes it a little bit easier for people to donate, and we also created three or four additional jobs by opening it, and that’s what Goodwill is all about: Creating jobs.”

The donation center is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. People can donate anything that is useable, which will then be transported to the Goodwill store in the Punxsy Plaza.

Donati felt the arrival of spring was a good time to open a new donation center.

“I think as creatures of habit, like we all are, we tend to pack things away during the winter. We don’t get too active, and then, as soon as spring breaks, we like to clean house,” he said.

Another reason why the donation center was opened is because Goodwill Stores and donations centers in North Central PA have been working with schools in Punxsy, DuBois and Brockway with students in Life Skills departments. Goodwill provides students with part-time positions, during which they learn hands-on work skills and have the potential to earn full-time employment.

“Our hope then is, that you know we can teach them skills, that maybe they can go on and find other employment in the community,” Donati said. “So that’s our goal is getting them some work experience.”

There are 19 stores in the 13-county North Central PA area, which employs almost 500 people. Goodwill’s payroll in North Central PA was about $7 million last year.

“We’re just very appreciative to the general public for all that they do in supporting us,” Donati said. “Without them, Goodwill wouldn’t exist.”