As people of faith, we are called to share with those in need. Several years ago, this calling led the Robert Smart Sunday School Class to sponsor a furniture drive through our long-time mission partner CARITAS, a faith-based organization dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness in our area.
CARITAS describes their furniture bank this way: The CARITAS Furniture Bank provides between 800 and 1000 individuals and families with furniture and essential household items each year. It is the only resource of its kind in Central Virginia. We receive donations of gently-used furniture and household goods from generous community members like you and distribute them to those in need in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield. Our clients include women escaping domestic violence, individuals and families who have been homeless, elderly persons on limited incomes, people with mental and physical disabilities, refugee families from all over the world, youth and adults recovering from substance abuse, victims of natural disasters, and the working poor.
RRCB partnered with CARITAS for a furniture drive on April 14 and 15, 2018, and by Saturday afternoon, the Pod was full! As donations continued to come in, the volunteers moved from the Pod and helped load the furniture into one of the rooms in the Youth Area. CARITAS came later that week with their truck and collected the rest of the donations.
Thank you to everyone who donated furniture and household goods, the volunteers at church receiving donations, the drivers and movers traveling through our community picking up donations, and to Chris Macturk and Deb Gray for coordinating this drive and making it so successful.
Written by Daniel Glaze
My experience with other CARITAS programs has been great, but this was my first time helping with the furniture drive. It was cool because you could see how much people wanted to help. When I got there, the Pod was already filled and we were taking things to the middle school boys’ room. By the time I left, we had filled that room up with chairs, bed frames, tables, fans, desks, and cushions. The drop off at the church was not that busy, but we had people going to others’ houses to pick things up if they could not make it to church. This was a nice way for people that could not drive or didn’t have the right car to bring the items, to contribute to the drive. If our church does the drive again, I hope that we collect even more furniture than we did this time.
Written by Elizabeth Wilkinson
The CARITAS Center: New Ways of Ministering
For more than three decades, River Road Church, Baptist has supported the work of CARITAS in the Greater Richmond area. We have provided shelter, needed personal items, furniture, knitted scarves, and handmade pillowcases; and we have relationships built around shared meals, spa nights, and overnight stays at the church.
On Wednesday night, April 11, 2018, we had a visit from Tiffany Terry, Director of Community Engagement at CARITAS. Tiffany helps to organize more than 18,000 volunteers every year. She attended Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, and graduated in 2011 from The School of Theology at Virginia Union with a Masters of Divinity. She is also the daughter-in-law of RRCB members Jane and Roy Terry.
We learned from Tiffany about the 30-million-dollar project that is helping to put Richmond on the map in confronting homelessness and addiction.
“Opening in 2019, The CARITAS Center will bring all the solutions for breaking the cycles of homelessness and substance use under one roof. We can’t wait to watch CARITAS transform another neighborhood and positively impact thousand of lives.
We’ve known for a long time that our clients would reap the benefits if CARITAS’s programs were all under one roof. We’ve also known that women in Richmond need our services now more than ever. From the search for the right building, getting through the zoning process, and talking over data and budgets, we’ve made it here to introduce you to the CARITAS Center. The new CARITAS Center will include the following elements:
- The Healing Place for Women – 160-bed peer-based recovery program.
- CARITAS Works – Expanded state-of-the-art classroom space.
- Furniture Bank – Warehouse space for Furniture Bank clients and volunteers.
- 47 Sober-Living Apartments – For program graduates and qualifying community members.
- CARITAS Administrative Offices – All located efficiently under one roof.
- Leased Office Space – For community partners”
We found out that we as individuals and as a congregation can be part of the work being done by doing many of the same activities on-site at the new location, rather than in our church building twice a year. Allowing our neighbors facing homelessness to have one shelter rather than moving weekly is a great investment in our community, and we are glad to partner with CARITAS as they make this shift in residential assistance.
We will host one more group of women in February 2019 as the new CARITAS center is being completed, and then we will transition as a congregation to on-site ministry after that.
If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact Tiffany at CARITAS:
- Phone: (804) 887-1594
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Libby Grammer
Originally published in the 2018 Summer Quarterly Explorer