MILTON — The new headquarters for DIG Furniture Bank in Milton is 4 1/2 times larger than its previous location in Mifflinburg.
Emily Gorski, founder and executive director of DIG, said the new location at 13 S. Front St. will better serve clients in the area of Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. The nonprofit celebrated its grand reopening with its third annual Fresh StART fundraising event on Saturday.
“DIG has been around for about three years and has operated on a pretty small-scale basis until now,” said Gorski. “This is a huge deal for us. There’s more space to store donated furniture here and it opens up new doors for clients to come and shop with us. It will give them the dignity to choose items that really speak to them rather than us picking for them.”
DIG was previously located in 2,000 square feet of space in a basement in downtown Mifflinburg. The new location has 9,000 square feet, she said.
“We’ve been doing the service and we’re going to keep doing the same service that we’ve always done,” said Gorski. “It’s just going to be enhanced in this bigger space. We’ll be able to accommodate more clients and more donations. We’re still the same old DIG, just bigger.”
DIG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to promote stability and restore dignity in the community by redirecting gently used furniture and household items to local families in need. Since beginning its work in March 2020, the organization has assisted more than 500 individuals in Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties moving into housing after crises such as homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration and more.
“I knew the need was here in our community when I first founded DIG,” Gorski said. “I wasn’t sure how the donor turnout would work. Relying on donations is the core part of our mission, but we were inundated since day one with donations, and people really being excited about donating to us. We’re seeing a really steady need.”
About 100 people were preregistered for the event at $25 for general admission and $50 for VIP. All ticket sales go to DIG.
“It’s really exciting to show our guests tonight that this is the layout of what clients will see, too,” said Gorski. “Our guests will see the types of things we accept. It’s truly a lot. We take everything from pillows to bathroom accessories to lamps to couches, armchairs, dining tables, dining chairs, dressers, TVs, and small appliances. Pretty much everything except for key bigger items like used mattresses, bed frames or larger appliances. We take art and decor.”
The Improved Milton Experience (TIME) subleases the space to DIG, according to TIME Executive Director George Venios.
“This building has been empty for years,” said Venios. “We’re really excited to have DIG invest in the community. This is a major undertaking. TIME is all about community revitalization, so this partnership is the perfect fit for us.”
Lewisburg resident Tracy Strosser, who works with Transitions of PA, said her organization is excited to continue its partnership with DIG.
“We finally have something we can refer people to who need help,” said Strosser. “Each of our organizations had to find furniture for our clients on our own. We donated all ours to DIG because they have a much better operation.”
This year’s event featured over 20 local “artists” that have flipped a piece of worn furniture into a unique piece of art that donors can purchase for their own homes. Upcycled pieces range from dressers, side tables, dining tables, shelving, chairs and much more. This year’s artists included independent individuals as well as representatives from the following Susquehanna Valley businesses: Gnosis Coffee Roasters, Gable House Bakery, Kringlis Crafts, Beverley’s Window Treatments, Rain Shine Studio, Tarry Shop, Blooming Grass Creatives, SheilaLaray, and Shop LOCAL Lewisburg.
New this year was the introduction of DIG’s collaborative Children’s CHAIRity Project, which engaged youth under 18 years old in STEAM skill building as well as opening up an opportunity for empathetic conversation among their peers. DIG challenged groups that work with youth to design a child-sized chair that will be gifted to a child that shops with DIG with their family. DIG asked members of the community to sponsor each chair with a $150 cash donation that will go back toward DIG’s work in the community. Featured youth organizations contributing to this project included the Lewisburg Children’s Museum, Girls on the Run Mid State PA, Bluebird Atelier, Kinderfolk Preschool and more.