Organization Provides Used Furniture

6 years 7 months 1 day ago November 24, 2010 Nov 24, 2010 Wednesday, November 24 2010 Wednesday, November 24, 2010 6:31:30 PM CST in News
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COLUMBIA - Volunteers at Love INC's furniture warehouse were busy Friday loading up a truck with furniture. That furniture goes to people in need. Love INC is a church based organization that runs a program called "The Love Seat." Through the program people who can't afford to buy furniture can receive furniture that others donate to Love INC. The organization's worker and volunteers deliver all the furniture themselves.

Jane Williams, program director of Love INC, said the agency receives 10 to 15 calls a day for assistance. She said workers try to help 25 to 30 people and families a month. The organization helps a variety of people: teens who have aged out of foster care, people moving out of homeless shelters, disabled people, and ex-offenders. The group's most-served group consists of domestic abuse survivors.

Each person who receives a piece of furniture has a story. 21-year-old Sky Wyatt is 6 months pregnant and expecting twins. Up until three days ago, she was sleeping on the floor. That's when Love INC gave her a bed. "It was amazing because sleeping on the floor when your pregnant is not comfortable," said Wyatt.  Williams said they can never get enough beds. "We have so many children jumping on beds, we've had several children say they've never had a bed before," said Williams.

Now, Wyatt has put a crib on her wish list, hoping Love INC will deliver again.

Raney Jackson said a brain tumor and heart problems forced her to stop her work as an in-home caregiver. When she moved to her new home with her 17-year-old daughter, she didn't have any furniture. Love INC gave her a couch and a chair. "When you get a home, you don't have anything to furnish it with, its not brand new, but it feels new to you and it just makes your house a little homier," said Jackson.

Williams said her group encourages donating families to go along on the deliveries to the new owners. "We've even had one family tell us their eight year old went home right away and cleaned his room because he was so grateful for what he had after he saw the family that had literally nothing," said Williams.

The furniture bank operates out of a 4,000 square foot warehouse owned by Rocky Phillippe. Their rent? Free. "Mr. Phillippe is the real hero here. Without him, we wouldn't have a place to keep the furniture," said Williams.

Love INC has also opened a thrift shop in partnership with the furniture bank. They sell gently used clothing items for next to nothing. A man's dress shirt is priced at 1 dollar and sports coats at 5 dollars. Williams said they want to provide affordable professional clothing for job seekers.

"There's really something happening in the hearts of the people that are volunteering and the people we are serving. We want them to have dignity and beautiful homes," said Williams.

If you can help donate furniture or money to Love INC, you can contact the group by clicking on the Love INC link to the right of this article or you can call (573) 256-7662.

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