From Susan Maritan –
TURN HARDSHIP INTO HOPE
A story of woe might be what you expect when you speak with Rich Purnell, Executive Director at New Life Furniture Bank of MA, when you ask him to recap this year at the non-profit. How could he and a group of volunteers successfully continue to serve clients coming out of homelessness in the midst of a pandemic?
“We had big plans for 2020,” said Purnell. “We were prepared to collect more home furnishings and reach more clients than ever before. Then COVID-19 hit Massachusetts, and New Life’s operations halted… but not for long. “We shut down for a week, revamped our operations, and reopened, thanks to a massive volunteer effort. I’m proud to say we were the first furniture bank in Massachusetts to maintain our mission with a new model and safety precautions.”
Purnell and his team adjusted their approach by switching from clients visiting in-person, to “shopping” at an online “store”. Purnell identified software that would work for the furniture bank. Volunteers upload photos of household goods so clients can make their choices virtually. After they “shop” on-line, other volunteers bundle and prepare the clients’ selections for pick-up, and the next day moving trucks pick up and deliver the goods to the clients’ apartments.
Many of New Life’s clients spent months or even years in homeless shelters before obtaining housing assistance. Most do not have the resources to obtain household furnishings and avoid debt without the help of a furniture bank.
Thursday, October 29th is the launch of the “Changing World. Changing Needs. Changing Lives.” campaign. These funds raised will enable New Life’s to serve more households.
“Although we don’t know what is coming in the days, weeks, and months ahead, it is our supporters that keep New Life innovating to meet the rising challenge,” said Purnell. “A gift of any amount will ensure that individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness have the necessary furniture and household items they need to live in security, comfort, and hope.”
Gifts may be made at newlifefb.org or by check payable to New Life Furniture Bank of MA, sent to P.O. Box 573, Medfield, MA 02052.
Thank you for your support.