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Non-Profit agencies impacted by local purchases

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Non-profit agencies deserve special attention in a discussion of local purchases. Some provide products for purchase. Some support services that help people elevate their lives. When local businesses and their employees contribute to local non-profit organizations, everyone wins. The non-profits are able to provide more services to help those in need, including job training. Training leads to a more skilled workforce, which leads to higher paying jobs, which leads to a stronger community.
 
Soup of Success
One such program is Soup of Success, which Director Betsy Ayrea-Delfine describes as an empowerment program for Elkhart County women. “We walk alongside them as they figure out their life, their game plan, and how they’re going to be successful.”
 
Soup of Success teaches women to build self-esteem, develop independence and improve quality of life. Women learn job- and life-skills while actually running a small social enterprise. They are involved in all aspects of the business including production, marketing, customer service, quality control, shipping and inventory management. Current products include gourmet soup mixes, dessert mixes, dip/dressing mixes, gift baskets, and upcycled wool mittens and Christmas trees.
 
“It’s important to note all the proceeds of all our sales – from soups to mittens to gift baskets to Christmas trees – pay training wages for local women,” she said.
 
Soup of Success is a program of Church Community Services. For more information visit www.soupofsuccess.com.

Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
“The folks that come through our programs at Goodwill are the reason behind everything that we do.  We get them ready to be employed and teach them how to stay employed beyond these walls,” emphasizes Guy Fisher, Vice President of Mission Advancement for Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
 
Goodwill’s Mission is to provide jobs, training, and placement services for people with barriers to employment.  In 2014, 3,706 individuals were active in Goodwill Programs; 1,226 people found employment and 4,643 people utilized free services at Goodwill’s Career Centers in Mishawaka and Warsaw.
 
In August 2015, Goodwill LEADS, Inc. opened The Excel Center in South Bend.  It is a tuition-free high school for adults offering students 18 and older an opportunity to earn an Indiana Core 40 degree, with a focus on career and college readiness. “It’s a do-over, in a sense.  An opportunity to become successful,” says Fisher.  In Elkhart County, too many adults do not have a high school diploma. As The Excel Center expands, their goal is to provide Elkhart County employers with an education option for their employees.
 
Goodwill is best known for their retail stores, but they also offer packaging and manufacturing services to local companies. Their Industrial Services facility on State Road 19 in Elkhart provides space for employees to learn skills and become job ready.
 
Shopping for affordable fashion is more than a great buy at Goodwill; it’s a great way to give back to your community and change a life in the process.
 
For more information on Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc. or The Excel Center, visit www.goodwill-ni.org.
 

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