Goodwill SWFL assists the community while balancing the safety of their staff and those served

By: Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - April 8, 2020 - PRLog -- On average, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (SWFL) assists hundreds of individuals a week with filing unemployment claims, LIHEAP applications (in Hendry/Glades counties), and by linking them with other community resources such as 211, access to food, and ACCESS Florida.

In order to maintain safe distancing, Goodwill's Community Resource Center (CRC) Coordinators are busily assisting the community through virtual services using telephones and digital devices. They are helping those in their time of need throughout the five Southwest Florida counties the organization serves (Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades & Hendry counties).

"We are able to support a great deal through advocating and referral," says Estrella Rodriguez, the Palm Beach Community Resource Coordinator.  "We can communicate with other partner agencies and assist them with food stamps, reset pins, sometimes they had been hanging on the phone for hours due to system overload. We give them hope."

For those at home with computer access, Goodwill offers free online computer classes to help build digital literacy and upskill. Northstar Digital Literacy Certifications can now be earned without the need to go to a Goodwill Job-Link Center or CRC through a new Northstar Online Learning portal (NSOL). This online instruction is self-paced and provides practice resources. Students can check their understanding with review questions before completing assessments.

To access services, please call local CRC coordinators. Fort Myers and Lee County residents:  Palm Beach (239) 271-6881, Lehigh Acres (239) 771-1928, and Bonita Springs (239) 357-4024. In Naples, Immokalee and Collier County residents can call (239) 822-5389. Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Charlotte County residents can call (239) 823-9158, and Hendry and Glades County can call (239) 823-8229.

"We are excited about helping the community," explains Rodriguez. "Hope is very needed at this time and that is what we are here for."

For more information about Goodwill SWFL supports and services, call Fred Richards or Tess Benham at (239) 995-2106, or visit

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