In spring of 2007 when I saw an article in the local paper, the story of a furniture bank that just opened in Westchester. Wasn't quite sure what a furniture bank was, but it sounded interesting.
Turns out there were several stories: what a furniture bank was, how it's long-planned grand opening coincided with the income-tax day nor'easter which flooded a lot of the Sound Shore area. Then, how 65 families in need were furnished , for free, in the 10 days after the storm. The article ended with what was still needed, and going forward, how people could donate to Furniture Sharehouse.
Still in retail at the time, it was a great referral. Clients buying new furniture were always asking me if I knew who could use what they no longer needed, or wanted. Up to that point, best suggestions I had were the usual charities, but this was such a find! Kept that article, because I thought "one day" I would also like to be a part of this.
That one day came a little over a year later. Had left retail and started my business end of 2007, but June of 2008 found me sofa-bound, nursing a muscle tear in my calf...started catching up on my phone calls, and finding out more about this place was at the top of the list.
Hard to believe that was almost 3 1/2 years-and 1400 families-ago.
You don't need to be a Decorator or Stager to know how much unwanted stuff people hold on to simply because they think it's that or the curb. People decorate around it. They park their car in the driveway because the garage is full, or pay hefty storage bills.
If you are beholden to unwanted, unneeded furniture (or some* furnishings), please consider donating it to Furniture Sharehouse. Whileserving clients and offering pickups year-round, spring and fall are drive seasons, where people have the opportunity to see how things work, drop things off, even volunteer.
This Sunday, November 13th is the last drive of the season, at the Woman's Club of White Plains, at 305 Ridgeway, from 9am to 1pm. Co-sponsored by the WCWP and the Outreach Committee of nearby Our Lady of Sorrows parish, the hope is it's a repeat of last year...where 2 moving vans were filled in 4 hours. STUNNINGLY< whatever comes in, seems to go out just as quickly...this fall in particular has been quite a challenge, with resources stretched even further due to families flooded out from Hurricane Irene.
Donated furniture is neither sold, or available to the general public. By appointment, it is re-distributed, FREE, to clients of approximately 40 different member agencies, all here in Westchester.
Basic, average-sized, clean furniture is always in demand. Mattresses, sofas, kitchen/dining table and chairs, and dressers, as much as the supporting players: lamps, microwaves and toaster ovens, rugs, mirrors and art to help complete the clients home. Donors get a receipt for their taxes, as well as the knowledge that they have helped make an immediate and meaningful difference to a neighbor.
Furniture provides the emotional and physical infrastructure of a home. In his 1943 paper, in a theory he called the Hirearchy of Needs, Abraham Maslowe articulated how greater and greater capabilities come when the more basic needs are first met. You can read the paper, or see it come to life in this video, filmed as a pitch to PBS almost 3 years ago.
But if nothing else, just remember Furniture Sharehouse exists, because guaranteed someone you know will benefit from your being able to share this info.