PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — With so many families in crisis situations, from fires to flooding and in the middle of COVID, the furniture bank in Pontiac is here to answer the call to help families in need.
It seems crisis after crisis has been hitting our community and all in the middle of this COVID pandemic.
Thanks to our giving community, one local nonprofit has been answering the call for families dealing with the direst of circumstances.
From evictions to flooding, even fires.
Rodney Belcher breaks out in tears as he talks about the blaze that destroyed his family's home and nearly killed them all. His daughter alerted them to get out.
“She had 911 on the line as she was coming down the steps. She did such a good job,” said Rodney Belcher.
The fire left them all hospitalized with smoke inhalation.
His wife rushed back in to save one of the family pets.
Fortunately, they escaped without physical injuries but now they must rebuild from scratch.
“We haven't even dealt with the emotional side. We've been trying to get by day by day,” said fire victim Rodney Belcher. Fortunately, they were led here to the Furniture Bank of Southeast Michigan located in Pontiac.
“The families that we're serving with COVID they're forced to shelter in place so if you don't have a bed to sleep in if your child doesn't have a bed to sleep in if your family doesn't have a table to share a meal you're going to be in really, really difficult shape,” said Robert Boyle, CEO Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan.
Set up much like a furniture store for families going through turmoil. They can shop with dignity for what they need.
We want to get families in need with the furniture they need to live with dignity and stability and comfort in their home
We talked to one mother that escaped a domestic violence situation. She and her child have gotten help from local agencies to relocate to a safe space, but she needs furniture.
“You got out of a domestic violence situation, so this is a blessing for you?” asked WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford.
“Yes, it is. Everything is a blessing like this place here. I mean, I had to put some forward which made me feel like I'm doing an ok job cause nothing in life is free,” said Kenesha McColgin.
And while these items are all donated people do pay a small amount to help keep the lights on and pay the bills paid at the Furniture Bank.
Beds are always in high demand. For Kenesha, she just needed sofas and a kitchen table.
“Now did they give you everything you needed?” Clifford asked.
“Oh yes, I already had the beds and stuff my house is not that big,” McColgin said.
Her 5-year-old, Sheila, even got to pick out sheets.
“It's such a Godsend to be able to come and have somebody do this kind of stuff for you,” McColgion said.
They not only pick up donated furniture, but they also make deliveries for those in dire situations from fires to flooding to evictions and when this moratorium is lifted, experts believe one in four families will be affected.
“It's a traumatic experience because they're losing everything and then they have to rebuild and that's why we're here. We're here to help families get back on their feet,” Boyle said.
The Furniture Bank gives out two to three thousand beds a year, 800-to-900 to kids.
“We want the kids to feel good about the bed they're sleeping in we want them to get a healthy start in life,” Boyle added.
For families like the Belcher's there are not enough words to express their gratitude.
“I'm glad we got in contact with them cause they really saved us,” Belcher said.
The Belcher family has set up a Gofundme page if you would like to help.
You must be connected to the Furniture Bank through local agencies to gain access but if you want to donate furniture or much need dollars call 248-332-1300 or go to Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan to find out how.