Braving the elements of the weekend heat wave, board members of Furniture Assist volunteered their Saturday to sift through glass, aluminum and the like at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Recycling Association. The recycling center pays non-profits, like Furniture Assist – a Westfield based organization that donates furnishings to the needy in Union and Essex Counties – whose members volunteer to help process the 2,500,000 pounds of household recyclables that are received annually.
Even with the “brutal” weather, “it was very satisfying” to spend the hot day at the recycling center, said David Buckman, a member of Furniture Assist’s board of trustees. Accompanied by board president Dawson Yeomans, fellow members Michael Chirichella and Christine Boyle and their families, Buckman and the group of 10 got to work at 9 a.m., unloading and sorting recyclables brought in by local residents.
In exchange for its board members’ four hours of hard work, Furniture Assist will likely receive $300 from the Fanwood Recycling Center. According to Buckman, the money will go toward paying rent for the non-profit’s distribution center in Kenilworth, where donated furniture and appliances are stored. The organization, an official New Jersey non-profit since 2006, accepts donated furnishings. People in need are verified by various New Jersey social organizations and then referred to Furniture Assist. Each week, the organization is able to supply 30-35 families with assorted furnishings, but still there is a wait list of four months due to the popularity of the non-profit, which is completely volunteer-based.
The money earned from the Fanwood Recycling Association may also help pay for trucks and drivers who do occasional pick-ups of donated furniture and bring the items to the organization’s warehouse. Whereas donors have always been able to drop off their old appliances in Kenilworth (and are appreciated for doing so), the pickup service has only been active for a few months.
But Buckman was quick to say that Saturday’s volunteering at the recycling center in Fanwood was not just for the money. “It was an opportunity for board members and family members to do some bonding, to feel good about volunteering and helping the environment.”
The board member of Furniture Assist want their non-profit to be associated with similarly “nice organizations,” like the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Recycling Association. “There was nice synergy,” said Buckman, who added that Furniture Assist has also been active in helping the of that damaged Ferraro’s and surrounding buildings on Elm Street in May.