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HAPHousing seeks used furniture for program

Date: 7/18/2012

By Lori Szepelak

SPRINGFIELD — HAPHousing's new furniture drive has taken the agency on an "interesting journey."

"It has been a very interesting journey since we began this program last spring," Jennifer Kinsman, donor relations manager for HAPHousing and project manager for the furniture drive, said during an interview with Reminder Publications. "We put out the word that we were looking for donations of gently used furniture and household goods, and received a fantastic response from individuals in the community."

HAPHousing sponsored a community wide Tornado Recovery Hits Home Drive on June 23 to help those who lost the contents of their homes during last year's tornado, as well as those moving out of homelessness.

"Many homeowners are still struggling with their insurance companies and have not yet been able to rebuild their homes because these claims are still unpaid, pending or insufficient to cover the basic costs," Kinsman said. "Some who have moved still need furniture."

Kinsman noted that since the drive began in earnest, HAPHousing has forged relationships with several institutions through connections with lead volunteer Ron Sadowsky of Williams Distributing.

"Ron Sadowsky had a connection with the National Furniture Bank, and that led to larger bulk donations from the Julliard School in New York and a timeshare in Pittsfield, among others," she said.

Kinsman and her team have also reached out to local colleges including Smith College in Northampton and hope to cultivate similar relationships later this year. Additionally, City Place, Hampden House, the City of Springfield and Catholic Charities have made needed donations.

"Very recently we forged a partnership with a new group out of Northampton called Homeward Vets," Kinsman said. "They will be sharing warehouse space with us in Ludlow."

Kinsman notes that the project provides "hope that helps," and HAPHousing continues to welcome gently used household donations such as kitchen tables, chairs, beds, bedding, pots, pans and related items. HAPHousing cannot accept appliances, electronics or mattresses.

HAPHousing provides a broad range of housing services to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income households. To donate or for more information, call 233-1766 or email Kinsman at