Families in need of furniture can get help from Comprehensive Community Solutions Project Welcome Home. What type of program is it, and who qualifies?
Project Welcome Home began in 1992, when a second grade teacher at Beyer School noticed a student having difficulty staying awake in class. When questioned, the boy revealed his entire family was without beds. The teacher responded quickly and sent a request to St. Mark Lutheran Church for the beds. The congregation responded, and beds were donated to the students family. Once the child had a bed, he was alert and able to learn.
This was the beginning of Project Welcome Home. St. Mark Church felt that if one family had a need, there must be others, so the church began to assemble an organization where used, but usable furniture, is donated and then distributed to needy, low-income families. The mission is to provide furniture and other household furnishings to people in need upon referral from a recognized agency or institution.
Project Welcome Home became a program of Comprehensive Community Solutions, a non-profit organization, in January 2001, and is managed through a combination of full-time staff and AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteers. It is affiliated with the National Furniture Bank Association (www.thenfba.org).
Project Welcome Home serves individuals and families who do not have the funds available to furnish their homes. However, PWH does not take direct orders for furniture from their clients. A referral form must be filled out from an approved social service agency. A list of approved agencies can be found in the Entity section of the ETO software. Any agency wishing to be added can do so with permission of the Community Service Coordinator (CSC).
The referral form should include the following items:
Referral agency name, address & phone number
Contact person from agency
List of persons in household
Demographics of persons in household
List of items PWH offers to clients
Statement saying full order may not be received
Warning that referral may take time to process
Dates referral was received and delivered
One-time $35 fee
Referrals should be sent to Comprehensive Community Solutions, 917 S. Main St., Att: CSC with a $35 fee in the form of an agency check or money order. Personal checks are not accepted. The executive assistant will open the referral, mark and stamp the date received on it, and forward it to the CSC.
Donations can be received from anyone willing to give furniture. Often, PWH receives donations from furniture stores when old items cannot be sold. PWH does not accept appliances or items that would be unacceptable for re-use. Items needed include: beds, dressers, sofas, chairs, tables, linens, curtains, dishes, pots and pans. For information, call (815) 963-6236, or fax (815) 963-1002.
From the April 20-26, 2005, issue