"2011 Thanksgiving Day Race and "I Really Can!" Donation Drive Huge Success!"

For the 2nd year, Ohio Valley Goodwill was delighted to participate in the 2011 Thanksgiving Day Race as both a sponsor and as part of “Team Goodwill” representing its elite runners. This year was especially meaningful to the organization because of this year’s theme, “I Really Can!” More than 40 volunteers including Star Runner Matt Graves spent the morning either running as fast as possible or cheering the racers on while accepting their generous donations at the “I Really Can” Donation Stations located at the Start and Mile 2. The “Team Goodwill” racers were inspired this year even more than last, because they were welcoming Matt Graves to their ranks, who is a participant in the organization’s work and training programs. “Matt is an amazing runner and really helped to reflect the “I Really Can” theme in every possible way,” said Ann Walters, Team Captain.  As an organization, Goodwill’s mission is to help people with disabilities and our nation’s veterans to discover everyday that they really can work and contribute to their communities. The two “I Really Can” Donation Stations were filled with Goodwill volunteers who not only cheered and thanked racers as they passed by tossing unneeded coats, hats and gloves into the “I Really Can Cans” but also held up hand-designed banners created by participants in the organization’s CARE (Center for Advocacy, Education and Recreation) program. “I am so proud of our volunteer team this year,” said Krysta Ryan, Volunteer Coordinator. “Their enthusiasm and teamwork were truly wonderful in support of this year’s event,” added Ryan. “Team Goodwill” crossed the finish line to the cheers of on-lookers and proud members of the Graves family. “We are so thrilled for Matt that he had the opportunity to be part of this exciting event, “said Beverly Graves, Matt’s mom. Ohio Valley Goodwill pulled out all the stops this year in supporting the event setting up tents at each Donation Station, posting Goodwill volunteers at each “I Really Can Can” and even, providing entertainment by local musician and long-time volunteer, Mark Macomber. This year’s Donation Drive resulted in a total of 3,972 pounds of donated items which exceeds last year’s contributions. “The generous donations of warm clothing items will be used to support Goodwill’s mission of helping people with disabilities to receive skill training and employment in the community,” said Sharon Hannon, Goodwill Marketing Specialist and event organizer. “It’s amazing how willing people are to give of their time, energy and even clothing for something they truly believe in,” added Hannon. Ohio Valley Goodwill serves more than 2600 individuals with disabilities and our nation’s veterans annually, helping them to obtain job training and employment in the community. Proceeds from the sales of items donated to Goodwill help to make its mission of service possible. Ohio Valley Goodwill is grateful to its team of volunteers for their outstanding efforts to share the spirit of “I Really Can” this holiday season.

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