At Furniture Mission, we have started what we call a Fresh Start Program. Oftentimes, our referral customers are in a unique situation in that they may have just moved to Sioux Falls or just gotten out of prison, but we can’t help them because they don’t meet our income guidelines. They have jobs, but they are still in need.
An example might be a couple who just moved here, they both have jobs at John Morrell and have too high an income to meet our requirements, or someone who just got out of prison is working construction and earning too much money, but they still have nothing in their home. This Fresh Start program allows us to give them a few items that will tide them over until they have a chance to go out and purchase the things they need. We don’t give them all the pieces we normally would, but we do make sure they at least have a bed and few other necessities.
We have found that there are a lot of people who are starting over in life, and although they soon will be able to provide for themselves, we can still help them in the meantime. In a typical month, we are able to serve five or six customers we normally wouldn’t, and we are happy to do so.
Last year, we also committed to giving everybody a bed frame. Before, we never had enough frames in because people who donated their mattresses would almost always keep their own frames. But we now have started partnering with a couple different furniture stores who have given us great discounts to buy new bed frames for our referral customers, so every bed is up off the floor and feels like it should.
We also recently received a great donation from Grand Falls Casino and always appreciate other pillow and sheet donations from local hotels. Our need for more furniture is constant, as well as our need for more volunteers. Whether someone can assist with pickup or deliveries, answer phones, clean or repair furniture or help in the warehouse, Furniture Mission is fully supported by our great volunteers, and we are always grateful for the help.
Bart DeBoer, executive director of Furniture Mission South Dakota