As the former president of the Junior League of Westchester on the Sound, Kate Bialo is no stranger to community involvement. So when the Larchmont resident became aware that nearby organizations were being offered donated furniture but werent sure how to give it to those who needed it, this longtime attorney decided to take action.
Five years later, Bialo is now the Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse : a warehouse that distributes gently-used couches, chairs, beds and other home accoutrements free of charge to Westchester families in need based on referrals from local member agencies like Westhab, WestCOP, Westchester Jewish Community Services, The Town of Mamaroneck Community Services, Hopes Door and others.
On Wednesday and Thursday mornings each week, case managers from member agencies bring their clients by appointment to Furniture Sharehouse's White Plains' Westchester County Airport location where volunteer "shopping assistants" help them select the items they need from an extensive inventory of pieces. Their clients include folks whove suffered tough situations, like natural disasters, domestic violence or leaving a homeless shelter, and receiving free furniture makes a huge difference in their lives.
The volunteers who come every week to help the clients love their work.
Its a chance to transform lives from the time they walk in until when they walk out, Bialo said of the volunteers involved.
Whats more, its evident that her enthusiasm to help is contagious: every one of the ladies helping to stack and organize the heavy furniture was thrilled to don their I Helped Furnish a Family t-shirts while making a difference.
Its better than any paid position Ive ever had, agreed floor manager and volunteer, Abby Watanabe.
For those who want to take part, the Furniture Sharehouse is always looking for contributions.
Have furniture youre ready to get rid of but want to give it a good home? Furniture Sharehouse will be hosting its next furniture drive October 1 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Community Unitarian Church in White Plains. Bialo and her team are always looking for more volunteers to help out, so if you are willing to make a donation of time, gently-used furniture or monetary contribution, go to www.furnituresharehouse.org for more information.
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