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Jeannette Melbourne wakes up every morning excited to go to her job as a cashier at the Springfield Goodwill retail store where she’s worked since 2022.

“It gives me purpose and a place to be every day, and I truly enjoy working here,” Jeannette says. “When I get up in the morning, I don’t feel like, ‘Oh boy, I’ve got to go to work,’ I love the people I work with, I love our customers and I love what we do,” she says.

Before working at Goodwill, Jeannette was living with family after having to leave her apartment. Stressed about medical bills from a major surgery and increasing cost of living, she knew she needed to find work to be able to afford permanent housing. However, she worried her age would set her back. 

“When you’re in your 70’s, getting a job is not easy,” Jeannette says. “I had shopped at Goodwill for years and loved the vibe and knew I’d like to work there.”

She met with a career coach at Goodwill’s Career Solutions Center in Springfield and quickly had a job at the store. While she still lives with family, she knows she’ll be able to afford her own housing thanks to Goodwill. 

While Jeannette says the financial stability is wonderful, Goodwill has also helped transform her social life. She had already been living alone for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic, which made her feel even more isolated and took a toll on her mental health. She says her employment with Goodwill allows her to be around people who bring her joy.

“I have a lot of regular customers who come in and we talk and laugh and my coworkers are great and so fun to be around,” Jeannette says.
When chatting with customers, Jeannette always makes a point to tell them about Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through education, training and employment.

“I just really want people to know what Goodwill does for the community and for people just like me,” Jeannette says.
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