Free Furniture Recycling Program helps the needy while preventing waste

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.

In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, Donahue said, the program served 567 households and distributed 5,028 pieces of furniture.

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.”


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8 Responses to Free Furniture Recycling Program helps the needy while preventing waste

  1. Debbie says:

    Brilliant service, i love the work that you do. Recycling furniture, and helping out the low income groups…..MAGIC

  2. Reve Sterling says:

    Hi! My name is reve Sterling. I was living from pillow to post for years. I finally received my section 8 and was able to come up with the deposit for my new residency. I am a single parent of three. I am unemplyed, due to the fact i am caring for my father who has prostate cancer, diabetes, and now it has matasticised to his brain. He doesnt have the space for me to reside with him, but that’s fine cause when one door shuts another one opens.” God os good all the time , and all the time God is good.” Istill continue to care for him cause he raised me. I am just asking for some help to get furniture for my place. I thank anyone that assists me in advance. Please email me if you know any other resources available and willing to donate to my family.

  3. My name is Therisa Huckleby. I have no money and on food stamps. Im living with a family. Im looking for two dressers. Im looking also a computer system. Im going thru WIA to go to school for infromation technology. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you!

    • centrecountycf says:

      Hi Therisa,

      By calling 814-234-7731, you can make an appointment with Interfaith Mission to see their furniture. Also, if you haven’t talked to them already, Community Help Centre ( may be a good resource for you too. I’ll email this information to you as well.

  4. kathy says:

    i am in need of a full size bed and chest of drawers. the full size bed needs to have the mattresses and head board and footboard i live in the bunker,missouri area.

  5. Tishia Oatman says:

    Hi my nameis tishia oatman I,m looking for a living room set aswell as washingmachine& dryer.I am a low income person struggling to make it.please

  6. centrecountycf says:

    Hi Kathy & Tishia,

    The Free Furniture Recycling Program serves the State College area, so if you’re in that area, you can call 814-234-7731 and make an appointment with Interfaith Mission to see their furniture.

    If you’re outside of the State College area, try dialing 211. In many areas this number will connect you with local non-emergency services.

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