Omaha organizations donate furniture to refugees


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Several organizations are disposing of unused furniture and helping those who have so little make a home a home.

That’s the goal of churches and nonprofits with The Furniture Project in Omaha. The project aims to help refugees become part of the community.

Melanie Gahan does a little shopping on Saturday morning – not for herself, but for people she hasn’t even met.

Melanie is with Citylight Church looking to fully outfit a home.

“How many are in the family, how old are they, then come here to restore the dignity and kind of store,” Melanie said. “That is, choosing furniture that would suit the family and meet the needs of the size of the family,” she said.

On Saturday, she helps organize the household for an Afghan family of nine.

“And they will be able to come into their house and she will be ready to live,” she said.

Furniture donations poured in in the morning rain.

Doug Hastings had a lot of fine furniture he needed to get rid of and brought it to The Furniture Project at 108th and J Street.

“It’s thick oak furniture and we bought it when our kids were little, and they used it and now they’re all big and out of the house and so we wanted them to go to a good home,” said Hastings said.

Saturday’s effort focused on several churches coming together to help refugees come to Omaha, but it’s not an exclusive opportunity.

James Barton is the state president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He said everyone can help in some way.

“We try to set them up to have their basic needs met, but not only, but to help them get involved in the community and be part of our community,” Barton said.

With a little muscle, a truck was quickly loaded, filled with furniture and necessities.

That muscle was also used to settle a refugee family in a house at 45th and Grant in North Omaha.

More than a dozen students from Creighton, UNO and Iowa Western did the honors of moving the furniture around the house as part of their ministry program.

“We have these little groups called City Groups that meet on campus,” said Christian Todd, a student at Creighton University. “We talked a bit about serving the community this year and I reached out to the current manager of Citylight and she connected me with the people here and we just put it all together.”

This is the 20th refugee family to benefit from this program since the beginning of the year.

But there is much more than that.

“This is not just for refugee families, but also for victims of violent crime, people coming out of homelessness, people whose homes have been burned down and have nothing,” said the Restoring founder. Dignity, Hannah Vlach-Wyble.

They say it is not alms, but a helping hand for those in need.

Donations are accepted free of charge, however, they must be in good or working condition. No stained mattresses or pillows or appliances that don’t work.

Anyone can donate, just make an appointment online at The Furniture Project website.

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