Jan. 28—Sometimes it’s the small things that have the largest impact.
Happy Home Furniture Bank Executive Director Christy Spence has seen that firsthand, and often, since her Jeffersonville-based nonprofit started providing families experiencing homelessness or domestic violence all of the items they need when moving into a new home.
“The whole goal is that if we leave (a family after dropping off items) that the person feels at home, that there’s very little they need to pick up for themselves,” Spence said from her large warehouse filled to the brim with furniture, lamps and more. “We don’t just give a couch, we don’t just give a table. We give a whole house.”
She said she remembers the joy on a woman’s face who got an all-matching kitchen set for the first time in her life.
That’s why the people who get the donations from the furniture bank get things like pots, pans, throw pillows, art and decorative mirrors, along with the basic necessities of a new home.
The nonprofit has been official since September and has helped six families since last month, with six more waiting for their furniture and supplies.
Families in Bedford, Salem and Clarksville all received donations in Indiana, and the others have been in Louisville.
“Our first deliveries started in December,” Spence said. “We furnish homes for people coming out of homelessness, domestic violence situations where they’re literally left with nothing, we furnish for homes for refugees who come over and find housing.”
Spence said she works with agencies like the Coalition for the Homeless in Louisville and Refugees International to find people in need.
People at those organizations choose clients for the nonprofit’s services and pay any fees associated with the donations. Those fees are then used to purchase new mattresses and box springs for all clients.
The families who are helped are given the furniture and home goods at no cost to them.
“I try to find out a little information (about the families), like do you have favorite colors? Is there a particular style you like?” Spence said. “I let them know, I might not be able to match it perfectly, but I’m going to do the best I can.”
Spence and her husband came up with the idea for the furniture bank. She is also a furniture-maker and works with antiques. The idea for the non-profit came as the pair were brainstorming how to expand her business.
“When we started looking into this idea, and I needed a bigger space for my workshop, this space became available and it was completely packed. You couldn’t hardly move through it,” Spence said. This place was full of so much furniture, appliances.”
Items inside the Jeffersonville warehouse were donated by thrift store owner Levon Bomar, which allowed Spence and her husband to start Happy Home Furniture Bank.
“I have always had a heart to serve people, I give a lot of stuff away, I’ve built a lot of custom furniture for people who couldn’t afford it but they had a need,” she said.
Spence said she’s always looking for volunteers who can do everything from washing dishes to prepare them for donations, to cleaning furniture, to helping transport and unload donations and organizing things like throw pillows and bed sheets.
“The opportunity for the people we are serving is tremendous,” Spence said. “I am also learning the opportunity we are giving people in our community, who want to serve our community, this is a unique outlet for them to come and not stuff envelopes or stand in a kitchen or serve food.”
She said anyone who wants to help can contact the furniture bank. She also said that people who want to donate furniture are welcome to drop it off.
Happy Home Furniture Bank is at 252C America Place. It does not take walk-ins.