Annual furniture drive to relaunch in South Charleston

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First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston and Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries will launch another season of collecting good-quality furniture for their annual Furniture Mission, starting on June 13. Pictured are Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries Executive Director Vicki Ballengee and Furniture Mission organizer Tom Titus. File photo

Beginning this month, a charitable effort more than a quarter-century old is scheduled to start again in South Charleston, with health and safety caution a key consideration in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic fray.

Every other Saturday from June 13 through August, the Furniture Mission will collect donated furniture to help those in need. First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston oversees the Furniture Mission, in an alliance with Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries in South Charleston.

Donations of good, used furniture are collected and redistributed by Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries volunteers to area families.

Donations are accepted each alternate Saturday, generally from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., with some flexibility offered.

“We put [the Furniture Mission] off for about a month this year, because of the pandemic,” longtime organizer Tom Titus explained, “but we’ll be using proper precautions. The church and Heart and Hand had gotten a lot of calls about picking up furniture, and we thought we’d work with the rules and go do this.”

Along with the standard alternate-Saturday morning hours of collection, Titus, said, “People can call Heart & Hand if somebody has something to donate; we’ll find some way to get it.”

Furniture Mission volunteers distribute the furniture donations to qualifying households throughout the Greater Kanawha Valley.

“We got involved at the church because Heart & Hand needed somebody to pick up furniture on the weekends and store it,” Titus said in a 2018 Metro West article. “We used to have an old apartment at the church; a long time ago, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation gave us a building that’s on our parking lot. We use it to put furniture in.”

The Furniture Mission began approximately 30 years ago. Through the years, Titus said, members of other South Charleston churches have assisted with the Furniture Mission collection and distribution. As well as loading rental trucks with the donated furniture, volunteers make occasional deliveries, the South Charleston resident said.

Titus said donations are accepted from throughout the Kanawha Valley.

“We go down to Putnam County and up into the Elk River and around different parts of the Kanawha Valley. We want good furniture that you’d be willing to give to someone else. Most of the time, people give us pretty decent stuff.”

Furniture Mission organizers will also accept donations of appliances, such as stoves and refrigerators, that are in working condition, for redistribution.

Those who rely on Heart & Hand for assistance, such as clothing vouchers, food pantry items and utility payment aid, are eligible to receive items through the Furniture Mission.

The Heart & Hand Thrift Store is located at 212 D St. in South Charleston. The thrift store reopened to the public on May 26. According to a social media post, the facility is now open from 10 a.m. until noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store is closed from noon to 1 p.m. daily for restocking and disinfecting.

Guidelines in place to protect staff, volunteers, and shoppers include:

• Maximum of eight shoppers permitted in the thrift store at one time.

• A special entrance is offered on the Second Avenue side of the store, with a separate exit at the front door.

• Face masks are required.

• No dressing rooms will be open.

• No public restroom is available.

• Hand sanitizer will be provided as customers enter and exit.

• Social distancing will be observed.

The Heart & Hand Thrift Shop is also accepting donations each day. All clothing or cloth materials must be in a bag and all household items must be a box or a tote.

To arrange a pick-up of items, request furniture or receive additional information regarding the Furniture Mission, phone Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries at 304-744-6741.