Iowa Inmates Make Dressers For The Free Store

When Harry Swanson of The Free Store in Des Moines, IA, learned that inmates in Ohio were making dressers for families in need, he called Becky Munoz at Iowa Prison Industries and inquired about the possibility of have the Iowa inmates make dressers for domestic violence victims in need in Des Moines. Becky was happy to tackle the project, and delivered 32 dressers to The Free Store in December 2011. Harry was delighted with the results, and the two organizations hope to repeat the project again in 2012.

NFBA to be spotlighted at the High Point Market

The National Furniture Bank Association has been selected as one of Six Causes that will be spotlighted at the upcoming annual High Point Market in High Point, NC, from October 22-27, 2011. Market attendees,manufacturers and distributors will be invited to support these six causes during the conference, with one specific cause being spotlighted each day. On Wednesday, October 26th, all High Point Market staff and volunteers will be wearing name badges that show the NFBA logo, in an effort to heighten awareness of the important work that furniture banks do throughout the U.S. and Canada. Below is a screen shot from the High Point Market website (



To view a larger version of this web page image, Click here.

NFBA Members’ Conference – November 2011

The National Furniture Bank Association (NFBA) is planning a conference for NFBA members on November 9-11, 2011. It has been 4 years since the NFBA’s first conference in 2007, and Tom Polk (founder and past chair, NFBA Board) has been working with Jim Elfering of Bridging in Minneapolis, MN and Suzie Jordan of Mustard Seed Ft. Wayne in IN to plan the agenda. “We’re excited to be able to offer this 2nd conference for NFBA members,” Tom said, “and believe that it will provide some great value to furniture bank executives from organizations of all sizes.”
Bridging, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN (the largest furniture bank in the U.S.), will be the host for the conference, and the Comfort Inn Airport will make their conference room(s) available for the various sessions. They were also the host of the first NFBA conference in 2007, which was attended by more than 40 individuals. “What a great time opportunity to get together to share, listen and gather some new ideas from all over the country and from our friends in Canada as well,” said Suzie Jordan.
Delta Airlines is offering air fare discounts, and Comfort Inn will be offering a reduced $69/night room rate for attendees.
You can  CLICK HERE  to download the “Save the Date” flier in PDF format.

Mustard Seed (Ft. Wayne) Announces Two Events

The Mustard Seed Furniture Bank in Fort Wayne, IN announces two events for supporters to donate furniture and financial support:

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Saturday, September 24th from 10 am – 2 pm
at the Mustard Seed Furniture Bank
3636 Illinois Road – Fort Wayne, IN

Bring your items that still have life to share — clothing, furniture, building supplies, cabinets, linens and major appliances.
Donations will benefit local nonprofits – Mustard Seed Furniture Bank, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Vincent Village, St. Vincent dePaul Store and Cross Borders Partners.

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October 8, 2011
8th Annual Charity Auction & Dinner
$65.00/per person
$600 for a table of 8**
Sponsorship Levels are available at
$1,000, $2,500 and $5,000**
Paid Reservations are Required
**special recognition is provided
For more information contact 260-471-5802 x100

Furniture Bank and Inmates making Dressers

The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio was growing weary of never having enough dressers for the nearly 4,000 families per year they provided free furniture to. So in June 2010, several staff members and volunteers set out to expand the kitchen table building process to include 4-drawer dressers. After several prototype iterations, the best design was adopted and “production” began. “Production” in this case means crews of volunteers using carefully designed assembly jigs. After several successful months and ramp-up to about 18 dressers a week, a partnership was developed with Marion Correctional Institute in Marion, Ohio, for the inmates to build dressers also. The “production” assembly jigs were duplicated, and a select group of interested and capable inmates began making dressers 3 days a week. In just a few short weeks, they have ramped up to producing 50 dressers per week!


Furniture Bank volunteers building a dresser.         Dressers produced at Marion Correctional.

In 2010, FBCO received 2,711 dressers in donation from residents and institutions, but they served 3,565 families in need. So, families could only receive 1, and sometimes not even 1. With the help of volunteers in their own woodshop and the inmates at Marion Correctional, FBCO will add about 1,600 dressers to incoming donations in 2011. In 2012, the number of dressers produced by inmates is projected to be 2,500, and another 1,000 will be built by furniture bank volunteers. In all, FBCO expects to have more than 6,000 dressers to serve a projected 4,600 families. This is definitely better than 2010, but more will still be needed. Stay tuned for future updates!