ACTON (CBS) – You may not know their name or have ever heard of their work, but for 25 years, Household Goods in Acton has been a lifesaver. Check these numbers – the organization helps about 8000 people every year get the basic things they need to outfit some 2500 apartments. And today, with generous donations, Household Goods is still turning houses into homes.
They have it all. Furniture, dishes, beds and even pictures to hang on the wall, all in a 10,000 sq. foot showroom on Main St. in Acton. Donations come in at a steady clip and volunteers give thousands of hours of their time to unload, clean and organize the items.
“They give us household goods which they don’t need, but that are perfectly good,” says Barbara Smith.
Household Goods is the brainchild of Barbara and her husband Ira. In 1990 they asked for donations to help a Salvadoran refugee family who had nothing but an empty apartment.
“People responded extremely generously and we could have furnished 3 or more apartments,” Barbara remembers.
From there the organization was born, and 25 years later people come from 140 towns to get the things they need to make a home. And there’s no charge.
“A lot of them are veterans, refugees. A lot of it is homeless people,” Ira says.
But they have one thing in common.
“Need. And not the means to meet the need,” says Barbara.
After living in a shelter for a year, Chuck Ferrell found an apartment in Revere.
“The place was empty,” he says.
And Chuck didn’t have the resources to get everything he needed. So he was referred to Household Goods.
“Household Goods was able to set me up with the chair your on, the love seat I’m on, pretty much everything you see here,” he says. Including his bed, dishes, pots and pans, lamps and a bookcase. “I don’t know anybody else who does what Household Goods does,” he says.
As for Barbara and Ira Smith, who are in their 80’s, Household Goods is still the place they work, 6 days a week. “It’s wonderful. The best 25 years of my life. It’s great to be elderly and have someplace to come,” Ira says.
Barbara looks at him, pats his knee and says gently, “He’s elderly.”
For more information on Household Goods visit the website.