This is part of a weekly series that highlights a grant provided by the Foundation.
Every spring, the sidewalks in downtown State College are filled with unwanted couches and other discarded furniture. It’s junk to some people. But having that furniture could mean the world to an underprivileged family.
“If you’re a low income family and you only have so much, and you need to replace a piece of furniture, if you have to spend money out of your monthly budget, then something else is not going to be paid,” said Ruth Donahue, Executive Director of the State College Area Interfaith Mission, Inc.
In order to help those families, Interfaith Mission runs the Free Furniture Recycling Program, which uses a 14-foot truck to collect gently used furniture and appliances from people who don’t want them anymore, and redistributes them to families living below the poverty line or people facing emergencies like fires or domestic abuse.
The program has been around for about 5 years, Donahue said. Interfaith Mission started it because the local community had identified furniture as a need that wasn’t being sufficiently met.
Most people who contribute to or benefit from the program hear about it from word of mouth, or are directed to it by agencies like the Women’s Resource Center or the Youth Service Bureau, Donahue said.
After making an appointment and giving the organization an idea of what they’re looking for, people interested in receiving furniture are given a tour of the group’s furniture warehouse by a coordinator, and then they can pick out the pieces that they want.
There are no fees for people who donate or for people who receive furniture, Donahue said.
“The program doesn’t generate income. There’s no profit,” Donahue said. “So without monetary contributions, we really couldn’t operate the program.”
A grant from the Centre County Community Foundation eases that burden by keeping Interfaith Mission’s furniture pick-up truck in working order, providing money for things like maintenance, inspections and gas.
Interfaith Mission takes appointments to look at their furniture from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday and Saturday. And they pick up furniture on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. They can be reached at 814-234-7731.
So don’t leave your unwanted furniture out for the garbage man to pick up. By donating it, you can help a local family while preventing waste.
“This allows people to fill a need that they have without cost to them. It also helps the environment because less furniture is going to landfills,” Donahue said. “Everybody wins.”