Columbus, OH

Furniture Bank of Central Ohio provides opportunity for students to donate furniture to families in need

The Lantern
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The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio picks up furniture donations free of charge to provide to families experiencing life crises. Credit: Sophie Malynn| Lantern Reporter

In addition to thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace, December graduates moving out of Columbus can donate excess furniture to the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.

For over two decades, the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio has been helping furnish homes for families experiencing life crises or transitions, allowing them to focus on other areas of their lives that may need financial resources and attention. It has also provided a sustainable way for those with surplus furniture to get rid of it while simultaneously helping their community.

“I think there’s a great possibility for a mutually beneficial relationship between Ohio State and the furniture bank,” Nicole Gianetta, a third-year in journalism and public affairs, said. “Especially considering how many students move out and have no place to put furniture they no longer need. They can donate it to families in need.”

Furniture pickups are free of charge for anyone looking to donate other than a $50 fee if assistance is needed to move the furniture out of the home, and with trucks out five days a week, same-day requests can be made online .

“We believe that everybody deserves to have a safe and comfortable place to sleep and have a meal regardless of the circumstances they’re going through,” Phil Washburn, president and CEO of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, said.

In the 25 years the furniture bank has been in Franklin County, it has served over 75,000 residents and families in the community by furnishing 95 percent of their homes, Washburn said.

“Nearly everything we give away to families is donated to us by the generosity of the community to pass along items they are no longer using,” Washburn said. “So we ask that donations be free of rips, stains, tears, excessive pet hair or any kind of pests.”

Giannetta has been working as an account lead with the practice, trying to spread awareness about the sustainability side of the nonprofit.

“The biggest thing is trying to help individuals who are struggling, but we also help save a lot of furniture that would otherwise end up in landfills,” Giannetta said.

With furniture circulating throughout the community, the furniture bank is able to meet multiple needs of the community at the same time, Washburn said.

“Each year we are diverting over 400 semitrucks full of furniture from the landfills,” Washburn said. “Could you imagine how quickly our landfills would be filling? It would just be devastating.”

The furniture bank works closely with over 80 different agencies and 10 different programs to make referrals and to determine what families need, Washburn said.

“Over 90 percent of families are making less than $20,000 a year,” Washburn said. “That’s probably the one criteria that’s most common.”

One of the bank’s biggest outreach goals is to get more people in the Ohio State community involved and aware of what the furniture bank is doing and to utilize the services it offers, Giannetta said.

Gianetta said students who are dealing with a crisis could also get furniture through a referral, such as a church or employer.

“I think there’s a great possibility for a mutually beneficial relationship between Ohio State and the furniture bank,” Gianetta said. “Especially considering how many students move out and have no place to put furniture they no longer need. They can donate it to families in need.”

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