Volunteers from the Church of the Resurrection and the Jewish Vocational Service, Kansas City, move donated furniture from Flourish Furnishings to set up homes for arriving Afghan evacuees and refugees from other parts of the world. Photo by Julie Strickland Doane

Flourish Furnishings needs your unwanted furniture to help clients coming out of houselessness

“Nearly all of our clients are people coming out of homelessness.”

By Jill Draper

Want to jump-start the new year with two easy accomplishments? De-clutter your home and help your community by taking part in a donation drive for Flourish Furnishings on Saturday, Jan. 8.

Flourish Furnishings is a nonprofit in Grandview that offers beds, furniture, cookware and other household goods free of charge to people setting up homes. Clients include veterans, refugees, kids aging out of foster care, and people coming out of domestic violence situations and prison.

Recent clients include 9-year-old Paris, who began jumping up and down when a twin bed was rolled on a cart to her single mom’s rental truck. “This is the first bed I’ve had to myself!” she announced. Another client, Kelly, was moving from a homeless shelter to an apartment, and began crying after arriving a little late for her items. “I don’t know what I would do without this. I’ve lost everything,” she said. James, who was re-entering society after years in prison, voiced the same worry. “I don’t have anyone who can help.”

“Nearly all of our clients are people coming out of homelessness,” said Rich Shockey, executive director, who estimated that Flourish Furnishings helped over 700 families in 2021, and hopes to help 900 in 2022. The nonprofit is located in a 28,000-square-foot warehouse at 11971 Grandview Rd. in the former House of Lloyd. It’s not a walk-in situation, Shockey said. All clients must be referred by one of 60 social service agencies that partner with the organization.

Furniture and other items donated to Flourish Furnishings were used to outfit a home for an arriving Afghan family, thanks to combined efforts of the Jewish Vocational Sevices of Kansas City and the Church of the Resurrection. Photo by Julie Strickand Doane

Flourish Furnishings describes itself as the only furniture barn in the area and is one of a few places that takes donations and gives them directly to clients. According to Shockey, “One of the most special things we do is bring our clients into the showroom and assign them a personal shopper. That really helps give them a dignified experience.”

The inventory varies, but includes couches, chairs, tables, lamps, beds, small appliances (such as toasters, coffee pots, microwave ovens), cooking pots, dishes, bedding, and bathroom and cleaning kits.

Most donations come from individuals, but sometimes they receive items from hotels and other businesses that are remodeling.

The organization began more than 10 years ago in the basement of the Church of the Resurrection by an employee with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department who saw the need for this kind of service, Shockey said. Originally called My Father’s House, the project was moved to Grandview in 2018, and was launched a 501c3 nonprofit in 2020.

“The need is really quite large,” said Shockey. “We’re always full anytime I open appointments up.” He said the organization is almost completely volunteer-run by more than 100 individuals, youth groups and corporate teams who help load, unload and sort donations, staff the showroom and drive trucks to pick up items. There’s also a sewing station where king-sized bedsheets and fabric scraps are made into tablecloths, placemats and hot pads, and a woodwork shop where dressers are refinished and hotel bed boards are converted into kitchen tables. New volunteers are always wanted.

Flourish Furnishings does not accept major appliances, gym equipment, baby cribs, car seats, light fixtures, ceiling fans or stained/damaged furniture. They usually do not accept clothing, but on Jan. 8 this rule is suspended and they’re collecting clothes for City Thrift stores. The hours that day are 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. See more at flourishfurnishings.org.

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