A mom with three kids found herself with nothing after being displaced by a tragic family situation. With the help of a local agency she found safety, shelter and eventually keys to an apartment. She signed a lease, moved her few remaining belongings into the empty rooms of her new home and then came to visit a furniture bank operated by our collaboration of churches. As she walked the aisles of the many items donated from our community, she could not believe the options made available to her.

“You mean, I can have this,” she asked.

“Yes,” our warehouse worker replied.

“And this,” she asked. “It costs nothing?” She could not believe the choices of items being made available to her and that whatever she needed could be hers for free.

She left that day having selected a queen bed for herself, twin beds for her children, dressers, dining room table, chairs and a brand new coffee pot purchased and provided by one of the staff at the warehouse.  Just a few days later, a volunteer team arrived at her doorstep and filled those empty rooms with furniture she had picked out and loaded her heart with hope.

“No words can describe how grateful my family and I are,” she later wrote in a thank you note. “You made my apartment feel like a home! Not only that, but you all have been there for us in hard times. You are beautiful, genuine and we are so blessed to have met you all.”

This story and 440 others like it were possible last year because our churches have mobilized our time, resources or unused household items through a furniture bank. In just over a year of operation, this ministry has become a vital resource for many who are climbing out of homelessness, starting over after a fire and picking up the pieces after leaving everything they own to get out of a domestic violence situation.