Students, parents and community members from Henrico County Public Schools collected more than 8,700 pairs of denim items for Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia as part of Goodwill’s third annual Denim Drive donation contest, beating last year’s collection by 2,000 pairs of denim items.
Goodwill awarded cash prizes during a ceremony at Regency Mall on April 28 to the top three elementary, middle and high schools with the most donated denim items. Schools collected denim on-site this spring, and moved the collection efforts to Regency for two weekends in April.
“We are incredibly humbled by the amount of participation in this year’s event,” said Russ Rainer, Goodwill’s donation development manager for Central Virginia. “This year we saw different schools in each school level’s top three spots, which shows an increased involvement and awareness of this event and Goodwill’s mission to help job seekers facing challenges to work,” he added.
The donation event is made possible through a partnership with Henrico County Public Schools and Regency Mall, which provided a temporary storefront and donation trailer on-site to house the donated items.
“Regency is proud to provide a centralized venue for the 2018 Denim Drive,” said Julie Gordon, Regency’s marketing director. “Each year, the contest gets more competitive and we love hearing the creative ways each of the Henrico County schools collected their donations,” she added.
The top three elementary schools were Springfield Park (1,705 items), Echo Lake (1,580 items) and Twin Hickory (723 items). The top three middle schools were Holman (891 items), Tuckahoe (683 items) and John Rolfe (462 items). The top three high schools were Henrico (272 items), Douglas Freeman (245 items) and Hermitage (135 items).
Springfield Park Elementary School’s associate principal, Lisa Anderson, accepted the “Grand Champion” trophy on behalf of her school, which collected the most denim items across all school levels. “This victory is wonderful for our students and shows the dedication of our families for supporting our school activities,” said Anderson. “It’s a great way to bring the community together and teach students the importance of sustainability and recycling. We just don’t throw things away. They could be used for another purpose,” she added.
Goodwill turns the jeans into jobs by reselling the denim to fund workforce development programs for individuals facing challenges to work. Most of the items go directly to Goodwill retail stores for re-sale; some denim is sold to recyclers for other purposes, such as creating insulation.