The tiniest client at Furniture for Families also had the most energy – but not by much.
The boy squirmed, scarcely contained by hands of his loving great-auntie. The 9-month-old kicked his chubby legs up in the air, wanting to explore. But volunteer Ginny Allen knew just what to do. She ran back into warehouse where toys have been donated and found a bright, soft stuffed animal, much-loved but clean, to give him. His eyes lit up and his mother, who asked that their names not be used, was freed to pick out some much-needed items for their home.
She didn’t get everything she wanted; the sport-utility vehicle had to hold two adults and a car seat in the back. So decisions had to be made. The table and chairs she had hoped for would not fit.
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“I really need a crib for that guy,” said the 33-year-old mom. “I’m afraid he’ll fall off the bed when I’m asleep.”
Jan Voy, who started Furniture for Families with her husband, Peter, said cribs are one of the most sought-after items by its clients, and because of safety and sanitary concerns, they only purchase them new. Peter Voy handles much of the grant writing and bookkeeping for the organization, which has no paid staff but several dozen volunteers.
“He does what he does best, and I do what I love to do: working with people,” Voy said.
All volunteers at the Rancho Cordova facility, which threw open its warehouse doors 15 1/2 years ago, are busy this Tuesday, and almost every Tuesday and Wednesday. Those are the days they welcome in a total of six clients, gleaned from 110 social service agencies, and their social worker or home visitor, who has checked out their client’s home and assessed what was needed most.
Each client has an hour to pick out items from the warehouse – stocked with living room and bedroom furniture, dishes and kitchenware, sheets, towels and blankets – and get them into their vehicle or truck.
Volunteer Kay Andrews, who has worked there for 12 years, said, “The first six calls on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m., are the only ones we schedule for the next week.”
According to the Furniture for Families website, www.furnitureforfamilies.org, when a worker from an approved organization gets an appointment, he or she will need to come with the client to the appointment and bring the completed forms, a truck large enough to safely haul furniture in one trip, ropes, and people to load the furniture. Each client is allowed one “shopping trip,” and nothing can be held to be picked up later.
Besides the crib and mattress, the mom picked out an end table and lamp, a small set of dishes, a couple of towels and washcloths, some sheets and a pretty little blue baby blanket. “Oh, how about a Santa?” Allen asked. “You’ll need a little Christmas cheer around the place.” The mom smiled. She carried the Santa on her lap, the car now filled with family and new hope.
All Book of Dreams donations are tax-deductible, and none of the money received will be used for administrative costs.
Needed: 30 Storkcraft Mission Ridge 3-in-1 convertible cribs. Voy said research has shown this brand to be the most sturdy and useful.