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Stories From Main Street: Furniture Sharehouse In Westchester County

6,500 Square Foot Warehouse Provides Furniture To Those In Need
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Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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RYE BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A volunteer center in Westchester County takes old furniture and recycles it to help make a house a home for those in need.

As WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reported, Westchester County is one of the most affluent communities in the country, but there is also desperate need.

“We have a waiting list of about six weeks. We usually have 40 or 50 families on our wait list,” Furniture Sharehouse founder and executive director Kate Bialo said.

The 6,500 square foot warehouse at the Westchester County Airport in Rye Brook offers those in need a free shopping excursion to help them get back on their feet.

“We try to give every family beds, sofa, armchair, coffee table, end table, dressers, table and chairs, lamps, mirrors. Really everything they need to get their apartment set up so that they can start to rebuild their lives again,” said Bialo. “It’s very important for us to be able to give our clients a dignified experience. So when they come in here, they are welcomed by a volunteer shopping assistant who goes around with them and helps them select furniture that goes with the rest of the furniture.”

Westchester's Furniture Sharehouse (credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

Westchester’s Furniture Sharehouse (credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

There are 30 service agencies that bring people who are starting over after losing a job or falling on hard times to the Furniture Sharehouse, which was started in 2007.

“We’re also a recycler. We have actually recycled over 39,000 pieces of furniture since we’ve been open. That’s 300 tons of furniture that would’ve otherwise gone into the waste stream,” Bialo said.

LINK: Furniture Sharehouse

Adrean Owens-Saunders lost her job and her home but recently moved into a new apartment in Yonkers with her son.

“I got sheets and a blanket and a whole china set. Thanksgiving at my house,” she told Adams.

“Living in a three bedroom house, a full house. And to go to my daughter’s living room. I lost everything,” Owens-Saunders added.

She’s close to finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology and intends to help battered women and people hooked on drugs.

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“That’s the work I used to do. I want to get back to that. I love to help so now I’m being helped so it’s just a full circle,” Owens-Saunders said.

She said she’ll sit in her newly acquired chair in her new home to write a thank you note to Furniture Sharehouse.

Caseworker Lisa Bonet said the sharehouse works miracles for people starting over.

“They’re always like ‘can you come for coffee, can you come for lunch?’ They’re very excited and very happy,” she told Adams. “They’re very proud and the Furniture Sharehouse is what makes it happen.”

The sharehouse is in need of furniture, volunteers, a box truck and money.

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