The Mustard Seed Furniture Bank of Fort Wayne provides household furnishings to families and individuals as they rebuild their lives after suffering disaster, personal tragedy, or other misfortunes.
HISTORY AND IMPACT
Through recycling and a network of referring agencies, we provide gently used furnishings to people who are starting over due to a catastrophic situation. Since our establishment, we have assisted over 10,800 households as they began rebuilding their lives.
Founded in 2002 by a group of business friends and based on a similar mission from an agency in Florida, the Mustard Seed Furniture Bank took root in Fort Wayne. Our mission and process is unique and we do not sell or provide items through a “thrift store” concept. Our primary program is the Home Furnishings Distribution Program. Over 2,000 individuals, businesses and organizations donate gently used furnishings and household items every year. A cadre of volunteers assist the staff and give more than 2,000 hours of time to unload trucks, sort and display donations, and help with administrative tasks.
Our Beds4Kids program has touched the lives of over 10,600 children, ages 2-17, who need beds. With our program, they can get everything they need to sleep in their own clean and comfortable beds that very night, including a new mattress, platform bed frame, pillow, and gently used or new blanket and sheets. In 2019, we provided 591 children with complete bed packages.
With a referral from one of our 135 referring agencies, clients come to the Mustard Seed to choose their items. Depending on the referral and our warehouse stock, this may include large items (sofa, bed, living room chairs, end/coffee tables, kitchen table and chairs, dresser, etc.) as well as bed and kitchen linens and kitchenware. Since the Mustard Seed’s assistance is limited to once in a lifetime, clients understand that if they move, they must move the items with them. In 2019, we served 538 households, including 799 adults and 932 children, in our 7-county service area while collaborating with 135 social-service, faith-based groups, churches, and schools. Due to the pandemic, clients currently do not go into the warehouse to choose their items. Instead, our staff reviews the list and asks clients for their preferences.
People are referred to the Mustard Seed for many reasons. They may have lost everything in a fire or have escaped domestic abuse or are leaving a homeless shelter. Some are veterans. Most are employed. Others cannot work due to health conditions. Some have physical or cognitive disabilities. All have established a home; they just need a little assistance to make the home more livable.