After years of living off the grid, Jason Daniels and Lindsay McAnulty moved into Bend to secure permanent housing that would be suitable for their blended family, which includes five children and a set of twins on the way. While Central Oregon nonprofits NeighborImpact and Housing Works helped the couple secure a home, the inside was empty. That’s when they learned about Furnish Hope, an organization that could provide furniture and other household necessities to fill the space. “Not only did they provide everything, but they delivered it to our house,” McAnulty said. Furnish Hope helped the family secure everything from bunk beds and a crib to a carpet shampooer and a copier/printer. “We didn’t have any money for furniture, so it’s been amazing,” McAnulty said.
The family is one of many who have benefited since Central Oregon nonprofit Furnish Hope was formed in 2018. The organization is run by three women—Megan Martin, Deborah Asato and Mary Barlow—who had previously worked together in education, were friends and are all mothers. What started as a vision to furnish twenty-two Habitat for Humanity homes in 2019 has exploded in the past few years, and now the nonprofit has expanded its scope and reach, furnishing roughly fifty homes around Central Oregon each month. In addition to the three organization directors, the organization is supported by a program coordinator, storefront manager, three board members and more than 100 volunteers.
The group works with a network of sixty local referring agencies who identify clients who could benefit from the organization’s furnishing services. For each recipient, Furnish Hope creates a personalized packing list of needed items, and then fills the list using items from the organization’s warehouse on SE Ninth Street, which is filled through donations. “Furnish Hope serves a broad range of individuals in need, including veterans, foster youth and families; those with mental and/or physical disabilities, fleeing sexual and domestic violence, transitioning out of recovery; and those who have lost their home to a natural disaster,” Asato said. “Our reach encompasses three counties, eleven communities in all, throughout Central Oregon.”
In the fall, Furnish Hope was on track to furnish more than 600 homes by the end of 2022. From January to September of last year, Furnish Hope served 1,130 people, including 523 children, with a total of 13,277 pieces of furniture and household essentials. The organization’s growth is closely tied to increasing need in Central Oregon, where the cost of living is a barrier for many people. “We have seen the need for basic household furnishings multiply as we have come through COVID, and anticipate the need will continue increasing as inflation is making housing affordability even tougher for many in our region,” Asato said.
Furnish Hope & Home
In September, the organization opened a new storefront on SE Scott Street which serves as a retail location to generate revenue for the organization. Select donated items are resold at the storefront, which is packed with furniture, decor, table settings, and other items for the home. It also functions as a gathering or meeting place, Asato said. “In addition to generating sustainable revenue to support our operations, it’s a place where people can pull up a seat at a table or sit on a sofa and connect with someone who sees them, cares about their story and how they are doing,” she said.
In addition to shopping at the Furnish Hope & Home store, those looking to support the organization’s work can do so in a variety of ways. Furnish Hope accepts financial donations and donations of gently used furniture and household items, and invites people to host their own “Home Essentials Drive” to collect items. For those interested in volunteering with Furnish Hope, the next informational meeting is planned for noon Thursday, February 9 at the organization’s donation facility, 1006 SE Ninth Street in Bend.