Furniture Sharehouse Launches "Mattresses for Moms" Drive

from the Furniture Sharehouse; artwork by Sue Girardi

(May 1, 2008) The cases files at the Furniture Sharehouse, Westchester’s furniture bank, are replete with stories of clients without beds.

February, 2008: Holy Rosary Church called looking for a bed for a pregnant young woman who had no bed at all. We delivered her a bed, dresser, crib and TV by the weekend.

April, 2008: Mamaroneck Avenue School social worker reported on a newly arrived family of four who was sleeping on the floor of their apartment. Two days later, we had rounded up appropriate donations and delivered one full and two twin beds. The client “shopped” for additional items in our truck, selecting an armchair, a dresser and some other furnishings.

To keep up with the demand for new or gently used beds, the Sharehouse is holding its second annual Mattresses For Moms Mother’s Day fundraising drive.

It was only a year ago when Furniture Sharehouse celebrated the grand opening of its warehouse facility at the Westchester County airport -- just nine days after the disastrous flooding that devastated many parts of the county. Furniture Sharehouse immediately became an important partner in the flood relief efforts in the hard-hit Sound Shore area by opening a temporary furniture collection and distribution center in Mamaroneck. The satellite operation was able to collect enough furniture from local donors to provide 65 families with replacement furniture in only 10 days. (See: New Furniture Sharehouse Restocks Flooded Homes.)

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While donations of any amount are greatly appreciated, for donations of $100 or more, Furniture Sharehouse will honor the donor’s mother of choice with a special Mother’s Day Card acknowledging the gift.

In addition, Furniture Sharehouse ran a special Mother’s Day fundraising drive called “Mattresses for Moms” to raise money to purchase bedding for flood families, because the supply of used but usable bedding was not nearly sufficient to meet those needs. More than $15,000 was collected in a little over a week, with special participation by the Hommocks Middle School Student Council, which raised over $1,200 on its own. The proceeds enabled more than 90 brand-new mattresses to be distributed to flood families.

Furniture Sharehouse now serves clients at its Westchester County Airport warehouse, and in just one year has served over 260 households – over 750 individuals, including 270 children. Clients are referred by one of 23 member agencies and receive 5 to10 items of gently-used free furniture (beds, sofa, table and chairs, dresser, cabinet etc.) and accessories such as lamps, rugs and TVs. To date, Furniture Sharehouse has distributed over 2,000 items of furniture valued at over $150,000.

Nevertheless, finding beds continues to be an issue. “There is still an urgent need for beds for our clients, many of whom are moving out of shelters and are faced with sleeping on the floor,” said Kate Bialo, director of the Sharehouse.

Ms. Bialo also announced some happier news: The Westchester Community Foundation has awarded a $5,000 matching Challenge Grant to this year’s “Mattresses for Moms” campaign. “The Westchester Community Foundation supported our flood relief efforts last year with a generous grant, and we are thrilled to have their continuing support this year for our “Mattresses for Moms” campaign,” said Ms. Bialo.