Furniture Assist, a local organization that donates gently-used furniture to families in the area who cannot afford it, recently branched out to Westfield High School through Andrew Stern, a junior, and Will Stern, a freshman.
According to Andrew, the brothers got involved in the organization over a year ago when their neighbor, Chris Wronski, a board member of Furniture Assist, approached them and explained that they had a lot of donations but not a sufficient number of volunteers. Since then they have been volunteering about once a month.
Said Andrew: “Talking to social workers and nuns about the families they are trying to help really showed me how many people, especially kids, are living in poverty. I think it’s important to get involved in helping to improve their lives anyway you can. Volunteering at Furniture Assist is a great way for kids our age to help. I also think it’s important to volunteer and help out close to home.”
At WHS, the club is advised by English teacher Marc Silbergeld. About 12 kids consistently deliver furniture to families in the area, although they hope that this number will expand in the coming months and years.
“[Furniture Assist] has introduced me to a different world where people don’t even have basic things like a couch or bed. It makes me feel good knowing that I am helping them,” Will stated.
Added club member Olivia Dembiec, “I was surprised by how many people were there to get donations and how thankful they all were to be getting the items.”
Families in need—many of whom have been previously homeless, lived in abusive situations, or experienced other financial difficulties—are provided with vouchers by social service agencies, according to the Sterns. All of the furniture is donated.
To get involved, WHS students should contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org. Others should visit the Furniture Assist website, www.furnitureassist.com, and click on the “Volunteer” tab. Those interested in donating gently used furniture should also visit the Furniture Assist website and click on the “Donate” tab.