Growing up in Poland, Monika Wiela didn’t have much: no toys, no shoes, and very few clothes. “Even if I had money, there were no goods in stores anyway,” she says. So when an uncle sent a toy from the U.S., her eyes were opened in a powerful way—not only to retail, but also to possibility.
“That day, I realized that there was a world out there where these amazing things existed,” she says. And she couldn’t help but want to provide those things for others. Skip ahead to a decade ago, when Monik immigrated to America. She soon sold her first pair of shoes on the internet and eventually founded Cherrymad.com, a successful internet fashion business.
But in 2012, a chance encounter with a homeless man sparked an idea. The man held a sign saying he needed shoes. She understood his lack. Monika returned the next day with footwear for the man, but he was nowhere to be found. Compelled to do more, Give Back Box® was born. The platform allows consumers to re-use the cardboard boxes from their e-commerce purchases to forward used clothing, accessories, and household goods to the nearest Goodwill® location.
Give Back Box® encourages environmentally friendly practices, in addition to providing an easy way for consumers to donate items to charity. And, as Monika knows, the gift of a single item could very well change a life.