WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As the long-term recovery from Hurricane Florence continues, organizations want community members to know they have not been forgotten.
“A lot of the families say they feel like people have forgotten about the and so tons of people, I probably have a list of 150 that I know are moving back into homes that are going to need furniture," said Furniture Finders owner Livian Jones. "I get calls continuously and the stories are sad but most people have kept up their hope and made it through but I don’t want the community and really the state to forget about the people that are out there and still not back in their homes.”
Furniture Finders is a 5013c non-profit organization that has worked to help families and individuals receive free furniture following Florence. They received a tractor trailer load of sofas donated from La-Z-Boy on Thursday.
“This is our second shipment that La-Z-Boy has sent us. They sent us one back in November, and they sent us a shipment yesterday,” Jones said.
Back in November, Furniture Finders had a large warehouse space that made collecting furniture and decorative items much easier. Since then, Jones said they have had to move three times.
They are currently using a small portion of a warehouse off Andrew Jackson Highway.
“We’ve had people cry and hug and a lot of these people are pretty desperate. We had an 80 something year old lady who was sleeping on the floor for months and didn’t even have a pillow. We’ve seen a lot and learned a lot from it,” Jones said.
As more than 150 residents prepare to finally move back into the Jervay and Cape Fear apartments, Jones said they are in need of mattresses and dressers to meet their needs, but lack of space has been an issue.
“When we were in the old Roses space we had a lot more ability to accept things so we have to make sure we are getting the items that people need. At this point we’ve got sofas, we need mattresses and dresses,” she said.
Furniture Finders is currently accepting items that are new or lightly used. They do not take stained or damaged items.
If you would like to donate an item Jones can be reached at email@example.com.
If you are in need of furniture, Jones suggests reaching out to one of their partners inside the Harrelson Center.
“A lot of it starts at the Harrelson Center. They house Catholic Charities, Help Hub and people can get other assistance besides just furniture going there. So we recommend going through those groups first. So they’ll determine they need furniture and send us a referral of how many kids, the family, if they can pick up, if we need to deliver,” she said.
Jones and her fellow volunteers and partner organizations want to make sure community members still recognize the need in the community.
“I hope it keeps going," she said. "I’ve never done fundraising before and I’m going to do that so we can have adequate space to keep going and like I said I’ve got some great volunteers that are committed to it and as long as there’s a need we’re going to try to sustain what we can do.”
Jones said even when there is not a hurricane people experience homelessness, fires, and domestic violence situations and need furniture.