She had a job and two children–the three were escaping domestic violence. They slept on borrowed pillows on the floor. Besides being given beds, a couch, a coffeemaker–and other basics most of us take for granted–there was a large working big box TV someone had just donated. “She was just like ecstatic,” said Jan, the volunteer who helped her. “They (the family) was just so excited. Her son was like beside himself.” The woman told Jan, “I am going to get in my car and close the windows and scream for joy.” (Note: Many people we help cannot afford any sort of vehicle and walk or travel here by bus.)
One woman given a mattress and box springs told our warehouse crew: “I’ve been sleeping on concrete for two months.” (We don’t know any more details)
No full-size box springs, beds or bed frames were in our warehouse when another woman came through. The volunteer who helped her in our warehouse apologized. But the woman was happy–she got a full-size mattress, foam pad and bedding. She was eight months pregnant–and sleeping on the floor. (Our volunteers estimate about half of everyone we help is eating and sleeping on the floor.)
The mother had four children and one bed. Her husband had abandoned the family and moved far away. They got bunk buds among many other basics.
And why would someone else with a paycheck of close to 45 hours for two weeks work need OUR help? Because at $8.25 an hour, your take-home pay is about $320 after taxes.
“When I was in here–it was friendly,” said a young woman escaping homelessness. She has a small child. “I have a lot of pride–other places–it’s all business–not comforting.”
Getting beds, dressers, a couch, etc. “made my little apartment feel like a home.” She also noted “the pride you take in your work.”
Another young woman walked into Recycling Furniture For Families, lugging a heavy bag. She had gotten someone else’s bag by mistake–and hers–with bedding and rugs–was at RF4F.
It took her an hour and two buses to get her from her Twin City apartment–a trip taking 10 minutes by car.
She is a fulltime college student with a part-time job, has a small child. Her family lives at a distance and the child’s father offers no support. She owned very little, and was thrilled to get two lamps, (she had NO lamps) a study table and desk chairs, a kitchen table and chairs, a loveseat, an upholstered chair, a two dressers and a bed for her daughter among other items. She very much wanted a fan, and a microwave oven–but none were there when she visited. She also got a small pot and pan. (We are generally very short of medium and large pots and pans.)
“I’m really thankful to God,” she said, adding He is “really taking care of both of us.” She wished she had gotten a frame so she would put her picture of Jesus in it. She got a frame. “I think God purposely mixed up the bags we could meet,” she said.
Sharon K. Wolfe, Community Connections Coordinator at RF4F, got information from talking to people helped or talking to the volunteers who helped them.