Helping Hands: IHS program helps local families furnish their homes

August 21, 2013 

This year, Interfaith Human Services celebrates 45 years of service to Centre County residents. From the beginning, our goal has always been to help our neighbors in need. Our services and programs are designed to help solve these needs which will ultimately move families toward a stable future. And like many nonprofits, IHS relies on the help of the community to serve those who call upon us for assistance.

One service which has is funded solely through donations and grants is the free furniture and appliance recycling program. You may think this program is similar to a thrift shop, but it is more. Yes, the items are used. No, our families do not pay for any item they receive. Our furniture and appliances are big-ticket items that, if purchased in a store, would cost hundreds of dollars to replace. For this reason, the free furniture and appliance recycling program at IHS offers important options to low income families in Centre County.

Earlier this year a young man with a mental health diagnosis was stepping out on his own for the first time. Finding a small apartment was great, but his income was low. He realized that furnishing that apartment would take a long time if he had to find the money to pay for even the basic elements to set up a home. IHS was able to provide a couch, chair, end table, dinette with chairs, a bed, dresser and some lamps.

Fortunately, this man took advantage of what services and programs were available to him to start with success. For others who may not know of the free furniture and appliance recycling program at IHS, the need to replace a broken bed or couch may create a family stress that pushes them to purchase the needed items, thereby depleting money that could be used for rent, utilities or food.

When individuals call IHS to make donations of their gently used furniture and working electric major appliances (refrigerator, electric stove, washer or dryer), those gifts become part of solving family issues. Those gifts make a big difference. Our box truck picks up those donations and brings them to our warehouse, where they are redistributed to families. There is no fee for picking up the donations or for the families who need them. It truly is a free program and it only works when we have those items to share.

Beyond helping families in need, donations will save space in the landfills and make space in your home. You can set up an appointment for your donation to be collected by calling IHS at 234-7731 and learn more about our work at ihscentrecounty.org.

Ruth M. Donahue is executive director of Interfaith Human Services.

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