The Goodwill Store in Pickerington is doing its part in the fight against hunger.

The Goodwill Store in Pickerington is doing its part in the fight against hunger.

The nonprofit thrift store known for bargain prices and a mission to provide work opportunities for people who have barriers to employment is holding a food drive through Feb. 15 to benefit the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington.

Customers who bring in five nonperishable food items to the store at 1771 Hill Road North will receive a 20-percent off coupon to be used in the store the following week (from Feb. 17- 24).

Manager Tammy Tomak said it's part of a monthly program Goodwill is instituting to help the Pickerington community by targeting a specific entity in need of assistance.

"It's all about the community and helping people," Tomak said. "We wanted to do something for the community, so we decided to do a food drive. "

Tomak said since 2005, Goodwill has served a vital function in the Pickerington community as a store where the cost-conscious shopper can get gently used and sometimes new clothing and other vital goods at affordable prices.

Tomak has been the Pickerington store manager since March of last year. She said numbers are up in terms of customers served in her store.

"Since I've been here, customers have almost doubled." Tomak said. "We have (sales) goals we set for ourselves -- mine have been reached pretty much every month I've been here."

She said part of the appeal of the Goodwill Store, besides the tough economy, is the quality of the merchandise.

"We care about what we put out." Tomak said. "You're not going find any holes (in the clothes).

"It's all about quality and affordability,"said Tomak, who rattled off a few examples of what a shopper can typically find.

"All kids' clothes are $1.09, unless specially priced," she said. "You can get a pair of jeans for $3.29 and T-shirts for $1.99.

"It's all about cheaper stuff. Why pay a bunch of money if you can come here and get things for way less money?"

She said one customer comes into the store once every four days to purchase about $100 in shoes.

"He sends them to Africa because they can't afford them there," she said.

Tomak said typical Goodwill shoppers "are everyday people like us, hardworking people that want to use their money wisely."

She said Goodwill makes sure donated items are put to use and nothing is discarded.

"We're all about being green," she said. "Nothing is thrown away. Most stuff that is donated is resellable and sold in our stores. We recycle the computers people donate, we recycle books and cardboard.

"We're trying to do the best for our community that we can," Tomak said.

Part of the mission of Goodwill is making sure the less fortunate, or "people with barriers," are provided with the tools to succeed in terms of job training, skill development and employment services.

Proceeds from the sale of merchandise in the Goodwill stores go to support that mission.

Tomak said Goodwill fulfills its mission by employing the disabled or disadvantaged in its stores, giving them the opportunity to lead productive lives.

She said in March, the Pickerington Area Girl Scouts will conduct their annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale at Goodwill on Saturdays and Sundays during store hours.

The Pickerington Goodwill Store, 1771 Hill Road North, is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday.