Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. is one of 165 independent community-based Goodwill organizations in the United States and Canada. Goodwill took root in 1902 when a minister in Boston recognized a need and helped people in his community find meaningful work opportunities. His goodwill efforts became a movement that would eventually grow internationally.
Edgar J. Helms worked as a missionary in the slums of Boston. People, many of them recent immigrants to the U.S., often came to his church looking for help. The Rev. Helms did not shy away. He would gather burlap sacks and visit the wealthier residents in his community asking for items they no longer needed or wanted.
After collecting the donations, the Rev. Helms took the items to his church where people, in need of work, repaired what was broken and then sold the used goods. He didn’t believe in charity. The reverend gave people a chance. The people he hired with found success