GREENSBORO — This is a favorite time of the year for bargain hunters and those behind the scenes as the nonprofit Barnabas Network unveils another home furnishings auction.
Workers are still opening boxes while preparing for an online auction that includes leather couches, chaise loungers and outdoor cooktops.
The boxes often bring “ahhs” and squeals of delight.
“I snapped a picture of it just this morning,” an excited Judy Caldwell said of a chest of mirrored drawers.
Already unpacked is a sea of patio furniture.
The Barnabas Network began when a mutual friend brought together Darnell Brame (who had been collecting and giving away furniture in his garage) and Tim Patterson (then the priest at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church) whose ministry also was helping those in need. Families making their way to Greensboro following Hurricane Katrina became the catalyst for the merger of the two efforts.
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Since then, The Barnabas Network is like a furniture bank, giving new and gently-used amenities to those who need it.
A preview of The Barnabas Network’s online furniture auction — which takes place each spring and includes items donated from manufacturers, retailers and suppliers — reflects what the nonprofit says is the most diverse selection the group has been able to show.
“They know the needs we are meeting are greater than before,” said Caldwell, the agency’s marketing and development manager, of the donated items. She has taped a video of “window shopping” with Executive Director Derrick Sides that will be uploaded to the nonprofit’s YouTube channel as the items go up for auction.
This year’s auction, with bidding running from Saturday to April 2, features more than 500 new and like-new pieces.
In-person browsing times will be posted on the group’s website.
The Barnabas Network funnels the money it raises back into a unique operation making use of community goodwill.
The nonprofit also collects “gently used” items year-round in its nondescript warehouse so families in stages of crisis — homeless, fleeing domestic violence situations, recovering from a fire, refugee resettlement — can shop for things they need.
“The auction puts fuel in our tanks so that we can go pick up donated furniture and give 8,000 pieces of it away each year,” Sides explained. “You get a great deal on some beautiful pieces and your purchase helps restore lives right here in the community.”
The Barnabas Network’s “No Child Left on the Floor” campaign has provided hundreds of new mattresses and frames annually to families through referrals from Guilford County Schools and social service agencies.
For the furniture auction, the items available are at what Caldwell says is a fraction of the cost if purchased in a retail store.
“Our typical bidder is anyone,” he said. “Bargain hunters. People who are finishing a new starter home or apartment. Someone making a fresh start.”
That “typical bidder” could also be you.
“Plan to join us,” Sides said, “and tell all your friends.”
Contact Nancy McLaughlin at 336-373-7049 and follow @nmclaughlinNR on Twitter.