Good will: Donated objects and anecdotes


Emma Lam

Co-written by Elizabeth Han


One donation travels through a series of people —lettuce cut by one hand to help is gobbled up by another mouth. Inside a room full of children, a toaster that once belonged to a stranger is now ready for a feast. Each tells a unique story, full of different sentiments.

“Donating is an emotional thing,” Thomas Kilmowski, a Donor Greeter at Goodwill of Silicon Valley said. “Everybody’s trying to give back a little of their wealth to another needy person, which is what it’s all about here.”

In Kilmowski’s mind, one rule applies for gifts to be accepted: they must be in good condition. Household items, furniture, athletic equipments— as long as they can be used again, they sit on the shelves for donees to pick up.

The following are the stories of those gifts, from both donors and recipients. Hover over the images to read more.