(As told to us by Sarah Rooney, Director of Development)
Q. Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve?
A. The Mission of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio is to provide furniture to central Ohio families and individuals struggling with poverty and other severe life challenges. Our Vision is for all central Ohio families to live in furnished homes, thereby relieving suffering, strengthening family units, improving quality of life and building a better community. Community collaborations and resource sharing make this possible on an ongoing basis. We serve about 4,000 low-income families a year in Central Ohio with our services. Families are referred into us through a social service or religious organization and get to come to our warehouse and choose 14-16 pieces of furniture that we deliver to their home that same day. Last year we partnered with Graco’s Cribs for Kids program so if a family comes in with an expectant mother or has a child under 1, they also get a pack n play with a safe sleep kit. This is our way of helping to lower the high infant mortality rate we have in Central Ohio. We have 2-3 trucks out every day picking up furniture for our families as well as 2 trucks delivering furniture to families. The majority of our donated furniture comes from individuals, but we also collect stuff from furniture stores, hotels and businesses. We only accept gently used furniture – it has to be free of rips, stains and pet hair. Our volunteer-run woodshop makes about 12% of the furniture we give away each year using wood that is donated from Sauder, in Archibald, OH. The Woodworkers of Central Ohio (WOCO) designed our bed frames, dressers and tables then created jigs to be able to create these pieces. WOCO has a Tuesday and Wednesday crew that comes in to build bed frames and dressers, and the additional items – kitchen tables, coffee tables and chairs – are built by the more than 2,000 volunteers we have throughout the community.
We recently opened a social enterprise thrift store, Furniture with a Heart, at 2165 Morse Rd. It is our way of diversifying our funding sources and becoming more self-sufficient as an organization. We sell mainly furniture but we also have home goods and a little clothing. All proceeds from the store go directly into our mission to help more families. That website is www.furniturewithaheart.org.
Q. What has your involvement with AFP been?
A. I have been a member with AFP for a couple of years now. I became a member while I worked at Ohio State and then renewed my membership when I came to the Furniture Bank. I have been to 1 international conference and several local meetings and events and love what AFP provides for fundraising professionals. It’s a great place to network and benchmark new ideas for your organization.
Q. Does your organization have any special events coming up? Tell us about them!
A. We have our largest fundraiser, Big Hearts, coming up September 9th from 6-11pm! It will be at Strongwater on 401 W. Town St. There will be a live band, The Sly Band, food, drinks and a silent auction. For tickets visit our website www.furniturebankcoh.org/bighearts.
Volunteers from Woodworkers of Central Ohio Tuesday/Wednesday Build Crew
Posted August 2016