METRO DETROIT — Local residents are invited to enjoy a night of laughs for a serious cause.
The nonprofit Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan will host its 12th annual comedy night fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak. Tickets cost $75 per person and include a buffet dinner, live auction and 50/50 raffle, as well as a comedy show.
The featured comedian, Dustin Nickerson, bills himself as “the world’s most average person.” He recently appeared on Kevin Hart’s Comedy Central Show, “Hart of the City.” Nickerson has also been featured on the Fox show “Laughs” and PBS’ “Comedy Hour,” and he has his own podcast, “Don’t Make Me Come Back There.”
This is the Furniture Bank’s only fundraiser this year, and proceeds will enable it to accomplish its mission of providing local families in need with basic furniture, such as a bed or kitchen table and chairs. Furniture Bank Executive Director Robert Boyle, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said the Furniture Bank gets referrals from social service agencies for families needing furniture.
“We’ve seen an appreciable hike in the number of people who can’t afford to furnish their homes,” Boyle said. “And because the cost of fuel has gone up and the cost of labor has gone up, it costs (us) more to help per person.”
The Furniture Bank delivers furniture to the homes of those it serves. Boyle said in 2021, it aided roughly 1,900 families, but at press time, it was expecting to assist more than 2,400 families this year.
In 2022, he said, the Furniture Bank anticipates distributing roughly 800 beds with mattresses and new bedding to kids who don’t have one.
“No child should have to sleep on a cold, hard floor,” Boyle said.
Boyle said Michigan State University research has determined that a lack of basic furniture, such as a bed, leads to less sleep, more stress and a host of health problems for adults and children alike.
“It’s critically important to live with some semblance of dignity and decency,” Boyle said. “A home is so much more than a roof over your head.”
Kathleen M. McCarthy, a resident of the Grosse Pointes, is now a judge in the civil division of Wayne County Circuit Court, but for 20 years, she was the presiding judge of the Wayne County Family Court. She saw firsthand how many people lacked the essentials.
“A lot of families are living in poverty and facing eviction issues and don’t have the resources (others) do,” McCarthy said. “A lot of these kids were sleeping on an air mattress — if they even had that — or sleeping on the floor.”
Upon learning about the work of the Furniture Bank, McCarthy became a big supporter, hosting fundraisers and serving on its board for many years. McCarthy said the Furniture Bank fills an important need and empowers families by allowing them to choose items for their homes. She also praised Boyle for his leadership.
“When you’re dealing with poor or displaced families — I don’t think you can find a more worthy cause,” said McCarthy.
And McCarthy said the Furniture Bank helps families with more resources find a good new home for furniture they no longer need.
The Furniture Bank will collect essential items in good condition from homes across metro Detroit at no charge if these items can be placed in a garage or on a porch, or it will charge a flat fee of $50 to collect any number of essentials from inside the home.
Essential items include mattresses, box springs, dressers, end tables, nightstands, coffee tables, sofas/loveseats (excluding reclining sofas and sofa beds), dining/kitchen tables (excluding glass or heavy marble), dining/kitchen chairs (in sets of at least two) and living room chairs. The Furniture Bank will also collect as essentials up to five bags or boxes of smaller housewares, such as towels, pots, pans, silverware, lamps, bedding and other basics; the Furniture Bank cannot accept clothing.
For essential items that are structurally damaged, stained, torn, badly worn or damaged by pets, they will haul these items away for $75 per item, whether it’s inside or outside the home.
For fees ranging from $75 to $100 per item, the Furniture Bank will also pick up nonessential items from inside or outside homes, including desks, bookshelves, armoires, china cabinets, buffets, sofa beds, reclining sofas, entertainment centers and TV stands. Proceeds from fees support the work of the Furniture Bank and enable it to hire professional movers to safely remove furniture.
“People are always moving or getting rid of something,” McCarthy said. “For a small amount of money, they’ll come and pick it up.”
For comedy night fundraiser tickets or more information about making a furniture or financial donation, visit www.furniture-bank.org or call (248) 332-1300.