Now, tucked behind the Marc’s building on State Road is an attached, adjacent full warehouse. Every Saturday morning, 20 to 25 families sit in a waiting room, ready to pick out items for their homes for free.
“We get people coming from all different situations—horrible situations like a fire or a foreclosure,” said Jodie Macchione, Director of Advertising and Furniture Acquisition for the CORE Furniture Bank.
CORE serves families that have been referred via churches and agencies in the area whose needs are verified by a home visit. The families or individuals receive a one-time voucher to be used at the warehouse, but they must make an appointment first. The clients are escorted by a volunteer to go and choose the items they need. Clients must provide their own transportation to haul the items home, a requirement to illustrate the individuals’ readiness to take responsibility.
Macchione said CORE receives more than 5,700 pieces of furniture a year with more than 1,200 pickups. The nonprofit operates on volunteers only with the exception of the paid Warehouse Manager position. The trucks pick up furniture, linens and other home items from locations all over the area on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“We never know what we are going to get when we go to pick up the furniture,” Macchione said. “We receive a lot of couches and beds—not so much appliances, but we can always use appliances as they are often on people’s lists.”
On one wall, surrounding Macchione, were rows of holiday decorations, while across the room were blankets, towels and kitchen appliances. There also were mattresses leaned up against the wall in the bigger section of the warehouse, along with many rocking chairs, couches and old televisions. Volunteers from the Oriana House were helping load furniture for picks-ups.
The organization was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from Akron Community Foundation.
Christine Mohr, director of Furniture Donor Operations, said many of the volunteers who leave the Oriana program remain volunteers.
“You see guys you don’t have to, come back,” she said. “Something in them changes, their hearts change.”
People who receive the items from CORE also often stay on board or even donate the items back to the warehouse when they are finished with them. Penny Boggs has been volunteering for more than six years after CORE helped furnish her apartment. She is now in charge of the linen section.
“It’s all good work and the helping the people makes it worthwhile,” she said, sitting behind the counter.
More than 60 agencies, churches and other organizations help CORE by providing the furniture, clients or other support CORE might need. The items are given as is and any inspection, such as checking for bed bugs, happens when the items are picked up. The holiday items that are donated are given as an extra cheer if the warehouse has them in stock.
Macchione said with the economy, you never know who you are going to get and people are usually very grateful for the items they receive. The non-profit is always in use of more volunteers, linens, furniture, appliances and any other household items.
For more information about volunteering and donating, visit www.corefurniturebank.org.