Category Archives: News

2016 Mark Kelly Memorial Annual Fundraiser


Dear Friends & Family of Mark Kelly and Recycling Furniture for Families,

The Mark Kelly (Pictured) Memorial Fundraiser embodies the clear and solid commitment Mark had for improving the day to day lives of families in desperate need.  Once again I am reaching out for your help and donations to the 2016 Fundraiser.

The Mark Kelly Fundraiser was established in 2010 to celebrate the gifts of Mark’s countless volunteer hours at Recycling Furniture for Families (RF4F), providing home furnishings for families found near-hopeless often as a result of domestic violence or recent homelessness.  You may visit  to learn more about the non-profit services they faithfully provide to families yearly.  Since 2010 your generous gifts have turned this into our biggest fundraiser of the year, and thus helped many families receive life-sustaining goods. Our goal this year is $25,000.    The amount raised from this fundraiser is greatly needed to support the operational needs of our organization.

I ask you to remember the empathy, kindness and understanding that my brother Mark exemplified.  To make a donation in Mark’s name, please stop by or mail a check to RF4F, 515 N. Center Street, Bloomington IL 61701. Or use this link, the financial donation page of RF4F website during our drive period from now until September 5, 2016. Please indicate that the purpose of your donation is “Mark Kelly”:

Thanks to all of you for making this happen,

Beth Kelly


P.S.  For every $25 donated, you will receive one entry for a chance to win one of the following prizes ($500 for first prize, $250 for second prize, or $100 for third prize).   For example, a $100 donation gives you four chances to win. The raffle drawing and the winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 6th.


Fall / Winter Newsletter

Recycling Furniture for Families client spotlight

For 30 years, Jerry Posey was a motivational speaker, traveling across the country—
as well as internationally—for the Grace Harvest International Family Worship Center, spreading his faith and helping to inspire others. Then, in October, he came in contact with RF4F, and it was his turn to receive some help. “It’s been phenomenal,” he said. “We’re truly enjoying what God is doing with our lives.

Read our full newsletter here

Spring Newsletter

At the end of March, we wrapped up the Gene Megli Truck Fund. We are happy to report that we were able to meet our goal of $50,000 and are in the process of buying a new or slightly used truck to honor Gene’s memory. For further updates, be sure to check our website and Facebook page.

Take a look at the details in our Spring Newsletter.  Click the link below!

Newsletter Spring 2015

Our November Newsletter is Here!

We’re excited to spotlight a project that we’ve been supporting. Founded in 2005, Labyrinth Outreach Services to Women provides assistance to women recently released from prison, helping
them to secure housing, food, and clothing; medical and prescription assistance; education
and job training; counseling and case management; family reunification and parenting
resources; and a spiritual community — providing a holistic support system and helping to
reduce recidivism in McLean County.

We also provided RF4F shirts to a group of IWU student volunteers, pictured below, who
helped ready the house for its new residents. To learn more about this wonderful
project, visit

Read more about this and more in our newsletter Click here

Teaming up in the Community

Recycling Furniture for Families works with a variety of other organizations in Bloomington / Normal to help assist and empower people with the necessary life skills to become independent and self sufficient. Here are pictures or one of our events teaming up with Labyrinth Outreach Services to Women Services and Illinois Wesleyan Students who volunteered their time. Recycling Furniture for Families delivered most of the furniture for these apartments.

This is how we put your financial support and donations to work.  Please continue to donate to Recycling Furniture for Families.  Click here to make a tax deductible donation. 


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.

Make sure you get our Newsletter!

Please check your emails and/or mailboxes for Recycling Furniture for Families newsletter. The newsletter outlines the great work this organization performs in our community but I would like you to read one article in particular related to a client named Wivine Mbuilu. Ms. Mbuilu moved to Bloomington from The Congo with her six children after her husband was tragically killed while the family was planning their move to the United States. Recycling Furniture for Families was able to provide basic household furnishings for this family  in great need due to the generosity of this community. This organization provides help to approximately 600 families in need per year. Our financial support is funded primarily by private donations and we need your financial support to maintain our services to our community. Please remember to keep us in mind when you are making your financial charitable donations for 2014. If you have received a newsletter via the mail a self-addressed envelope is enclosed to facilitate mailing in your financial donation or you can mail your donation to:

Recycling Furniture for Families

515 N Center

Bloomington, IL 61701

You can also visit our website and make an online donation at

If you have not received our newsletter and would like one please email Barbara Torres with your name and address at and she will make sure she sends you our newsletter and adds you to our mailing list.

Thank you all for your support and have a blessed day !

Basic furniture donations are needed


Basic furniture donations are needed including:










Drop your donated furniture off at RECYCLING FURNITURE FOR FAMILIES, 515 N. Center, Bloomington, IL. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm M-F, Sat. 9 am to noon. If you would like to have your furniture picked up, call 309-829-6500 to schedule a time for that. A $29.00 donation helps offset the cost of gas and maintenance for the truck. For out-of-town pickups (with the exceptions of Downs, Heyworth, Hudson (not including Lake Bloomington), Shirley and Towanda), there is a $40 fee.

Client Testimonial

Wivine Mbuilu and her six children immigrated from The Congo last October. Wivine is a widow—her husband passed away unexpectedly in September while planning the move; the family moved anyway. Wivine holds a master’s degree so the family had some means to travel, coming to Bloomington and bunking with friends.

Her children range in age from 3 to 15. Their father told them “Always speak and use English,” and they’ve taken this to heart. There are two in high school, two in elementary and two at home. Wivine stays at home with the little ones all day. She’s unable to take ESL classes because she works full time at State Farm in the evenings cleaning offices. The kids have stepped up, taking responsibility and just doing what’s necessary to make it work.

The family began to attend Calvary Baptist church every week. They were asked why, and responded “We just want to pray and worship together.” So a bible study was formed with a French translator who expands on the weekly sermon.

Thanks to you, RF4F was able to provide beds for everybody in the family, as well as dressers, table and chairs, and other living room items.

We wish the Mbuilu family our very best.

Mark Kelly Raffle—Enter To Win

Mark Kelly was a longtime volunteer at RF4F, focusing on tech support. Since his passing in 2009, he has been remembered as a very valuable part of our staff. He is greatly missed and has been hard to replace.

So, in honor of his memory, we will be holding the Mark Kelly Raffle for the fifth consecutive year! Mark’s sister Beth has again generously offered the Grand Prize; the winner will receive one roundtrip ticket to ANYWHERE in the continental US. (“subject” to restrictions) Second prize is a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice. Third prize is an RF4F t-shirt. So enter to win!

The event runs from August 1st to August 31st. For each $25 donated, you get a chance to win, and the more times you enter, the higher your chances of winning. The winners will be drawn on September 5th.

So how do you enter? You can visit the Razoo link at Or watch for posts on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and E-mail regarding the raffle. And of course snail mail is always welcomed.

Last year we raised $6,635, and our goal this time around is to hit the $10,000 mark. The earnings from the raffle have been earmarked to support the maintenance costs of our aging vehicles (1999 and 2003). One of the trucks needs transmission work, while the other is burning oil. In addition, new tires have recently cost us $800. With maintenance costs increasing as the vehicles age, fundraising for 2014 is critical. Please show your support by entering the raffle this August!