Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.

Chuck is a veteran who had a great job as a phlebotomist at a local hospital, where he had worked for years. Unfortunately, there were changes in hiring policies at the hospital and Chuck lost his job due to a 20-year-old felony conviction that he thought was well behind him.


Chuck looked for work with other medical facilities but found that his old felony conviction had suddenly become a big problem. With no income, he could no longer pay his rent and he found himself living in his car. 


Chuck had heard about Goodwill's Veterans Services Program and decided to stop by to see if he could get some assistance. Chuck met with Janet at the program office right away. Janet connected him with a local agency that could help with housing. Then she helped Chuck begin a new job search. Together they updated Chuck’s resume and worked on an online job search. They found a company hiring phlebotomists that was not concerned about Chuck’s old felony conviction. The position involved traveling from clinic to clinic around the county. Chuck’s day started at 5 a.m. and wrapped up around 1 or 2 each afternoon.


The only downside was that Chuck’s pay was not at the same level as his former job since he had been with that employer for many years. Since Chuck's afternoons and evening were now free, Janet suggested that he consider a second job so that he would still be able to pay all his bills. Janet knew of a veteran-friendly employer who was looking for a part-time painter and would be willing to offer flexible hours to accommodate Chuck’s full-time job. He jumped at the opportunity.


Chuck thought the employment part of his dilemma would be the most difficult piece of his current situation. As it turned out, getting housing assistance was a little more problematic. Navigating the local social services agencies to get help with a deposit and first and last month rent payments was difficult. Communication with other agencies sometimes seemed impossible. Getting himself re-housed was taking forever and Chuck was more than ready to have a safe place to sleep at night.


Janet stepped in once more. She knew exactly who to call and with whom to speak. Consequently, Chuck will be moving into his new apartment next week. He is delighted to be “home for the holidays” and even more excited to be able to say that he will have no trouble making his rent payments once he moves in.


Chuck is glad he had someone on his side when his comfortable life suddenly became uncomfortable. It’s what we do …