Today and All Year-Long
Innovative Program Recycles Thousands of Pounds of Donated Furniture
and Brings It to Formerly Homeless Families Moving to New Apartments
Today Making-It-Home, a program of the Bergen Volunteer Center, celebrates Earth Day by marking 30,500 pounds of furniture recycled and kept out of our landfills since January 2017. Making-It-Home collects gently-used furniture from local residents and businesses, and then brings it to formerly homeless veterans, victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, and other low-income families who are leaving emergency shelter and moving to new but unfurnished apartments. The organization recruits a team of volunteers to help with the task.
“Today we celebrate the importance of our environment and those who are working hard to protect it,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg. “We greatly admire Making-It-Home for the creative way that it is solving two key problems in our community– keeping unwanted furniture from clogging our landfills and furnishing the apartments of low-income people who would otherwise be living on the floor.”
In 2017 alone, volunteers helped gather more than 400 individual pieces of furniture – the equivalent of nearly 22,000 pounds of sofas, chairs, tables, and bedroom dressers. A total of 245 adults and children were impacted by Making-It-Home – 94 clients, 76 furniture donors, and 75 volunteers who donated 442 hours of their time. Thus far in 2018, the program has achieved positive outcomes with 28 clients served, 34 residents donating 8,600 pounds of furniture, and 34 volunteers contributing 148 hours of service.
Whether moving, redecorating or disposing of the furniture of a loved one, local residents have a meaningful option for recycling the pieces they no longer need. Making-It-Home provides complimentary pick up service in time to meet their busy schedules. “It meant so much to give these pieces of furniture to people who can really use it, rather than seeing it go in the trash,” said donor Stacy Geant Hughes. “I’m so happy to help someone get back on his feet and have a home of his own. We are thrilled that our furniture is a place for him to relax!”
“Our collective effort is really making a difference,” said Cynthia Massarsky, Director of Making-It-Home. “We are deeply grateful for all our partners’ commitment to our clients and the recycling component of this program. This piece is so vital to our environment and the health of our community,” she said.
Local social service agencies connect with Making-It-Home when they have clients who are leaving temporary shelter and moving to apartments– to ensure that families who are making a fresh start have basic furniture on which to sleep, sit and eat. They can then use their limited funds for necessities such as food, rent, and medical care. A comfortable home environment encourages independence and self-sufficiency, and builds a foundation that allows people to thrive. It inspires low-income families to maintain their housing, reducing the chance they’ll become homeless again.