You have probably heard about food banks, but what about a furniture bank? The Barnabas Network is a nonprofit furniture bank based right here in Guilford County.
“Barnabas started in 2005 as a grassroots response to natural disasters,” said Judy Caldwell, The Barnabas Network’s marketing and development manager. “Local faith groups, community-minded volunteers, and other organizations realized there was a gap in services here for folks starting over, resettling, fleeing violence, transitioning out of homelessness, or breaking the cycle of poverty.” The next year, the organization gained nonprofit status.
Caldwell noted that while service agencies were helping to find stable housing, furnishing these living spaces was frequently beyond a family’s means. “Today, we serve more than 2,700 people a year – about 800 to 1,000 families.”
The Barnabas Network collects new and gently-used furniture, about 8,000 pieces a year, from donors in the community. “We honor your well-loved items, those pieces of furniture that have reached the end of the road in your home but still have a lot of life left in them. We share them to help make a house a home for someone who is starting over.”
The Barnabas Network is moving into a new strategic planning phase of its work and has partnered with Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) as part of its Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Cohort II.
“We have bold visions in terms of expanding and becoming a national model and believe the work we’re doing with Ready Ready’s CQI process will help us capture the metrics around the impact we’re having. We were so thrilled to be chosen.” Caldwell said. “We have anecdotal evidence and some metrics to capture the impact, but having more data will help us become a teaching model for furniture banks in the United States and around the globe.”