Fresh Start Furniture Bank looks forward to helping those in need at new location

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Nonprofit to open Jan. 3 at 16 Brent Drive, Hudson after losing lease at prior location 

(l to r) Geoff Schultz, Bob VanEmburgh, Sue Waudby, Kate Halpin and Jeff Taylor
Photo/submitted

By Nance Ebert
Contributing Writer

Hudson- When the Fresh Start Furniture Bank was told at the end of October that their lease would not be renewed, the organization’s administrators and staff were filled with anxiety. As a nonprofit whose goal is to help those in need with the necessary items such as furniture and housewares, they knew it was imperative to find a new location as soon as possible.

Thankfully they did – at 16 Brent Drive in Hudson. And now they are in the process of setting up that new location so that they will be ready to open Thursday, Jan. 3. The furniture bank is a volunteer-based charity which provides free furniture and home goods to people in need. All of the items that that are distributed have been donated. Each client has a unique situation, whether they are recovering from addiction, are the working poor, are leaving a shelter, suffer from mental illness and more.

In 2018 the organization, according to its website, assisted 660 households (1,770 people) with approximately 18,000 items estimated at $100/per household.

Sue Waudby, is Fresh Bank’s director.

“As a furniture bank we hand out free furniture, housewares and more to qualified families in need throughout the state of Massachusetts. Everything they receive has been given to them at no cost but they do have to come through a social service agency that we have approved,” she said.

“We work with 330 agencies that include a veteran service officer or veteran service administrator, human service department, senior center, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council and more. Once a referral is sent, the client has 30 days in which they can come in to our store and ‘shop’”.

“Most of our families coming in have either been homeless, so they are coming out of a shelter or they are veterans who have just come out of the military. We also work with agencies dealing with immigrants who arrive with very little as well as people who have been affected by hurricanes and fires,” she added.

The nonprofit’s primary focus has been in the Metrowest area with 50 percent of the referrals come from Hudson and the surrounding towns.

When they lost their lease, Waudby, along with the Fresh Start’s President Geoff Schultz, scrambled to figure out a solution quickly during what is traditionally a very  busy time of year. Part of that process was to determine if they could afford a larger space.

“The biggest challenge we faced was figuring out how to fund this and realizing that closing down was not an option. We knew we had to take on the fight and right after Thanksgiving, we went on social media with #GIVINGTUESDAY,” Waudby said of the fundraising initiative.  “We figured if 2,500 people could each give $20, we would reach our $5,000 goal. We are almost there. We are so committed to what we do and we have a host of wonderful volunteers, corporations, individuals, grants and donors that we are so grateful for.”

Fresh Start will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day and will re-open on Thursday, Jan. 3.

Items always needed include couches, love seats, chairs, tables, dressers, bed frames, new pillows, sheets, blankets, dishes, pots, pans, silverware, toasters, microwaves, drinking glasses, plastic dinnerware and more.

For more information or to donate visit www.freshstartfurniturebank.org.