Kate Bialo, Founder and Executive Director, is honored as 2013 New York State "Woman of Distinction" by Senator George Latimer.
Each year, New York State Senators choose a Woman of Distinction from their district to be honored for their work to enrich the quality of life in their communities. This year, Senator George Latimer (D) named Kate Bialo as the 2013 Woman of Distinction from his constituents. Kate was selected for her work as Founder and Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse.
“Lots of people come up with good ideas, but the ones that have the drive and perseverance to turn those ideas into reality are the truly distinct members of our community and Kate certainly fits that description,” George Latimer said in the statement on Tuesday. “I find it fitting that we are honoring her right around Mother's Day when we salute many of our mothers for providing their families with better lives. Kate and the team of volunteers at Furniture Sharehouse have done the same thing for thousands families throughout Westchester.”
“I am honored to have been nominated by Senator Latimer as a NYS Woman of Distinction, and very pleased to have the opportunity to highlight Furniture Sharehouse, Westchester's Furniture Bank, and its mission of providing free furniture to families in need,” said Kate.
Pictured above: Kate Bialo, Executive Director Furniture Sharehouse and George Latimer, New York State Senator
Furniture Sharehouse honored by Westchester County at Earth Day Celebration
Furniture Sharehouse Wins CTK Foundation's 2013 Heart & Soul Award
On Thursday, February 7, 2013, Furniture Sharehouse Executive Director, Kate Bialo, attended the CTK Foundation's 2013 Heart & Soul Gala in Austin, Texas to receive a unique award for Furniture Sharehouse -- $10,000 to support its mission, and an original song composed, recorded and performed by the Grammy Award-Winning Original Blind Boys of Alabama based on a poem submitted by Furniture Sharehouse.
CTK Foundation's unusual grant process is designed to get non-profits to focus on and celebrate their mission by asking them to submit a short poem which captures the "heart and soul" of their organization's work. Furniture Sharehouse's winning poem was written by FS friend and supporter, Bill Scher, who was inspired by reading the many heartfelt thank-you letters from grateful Furniture Sharehouse clients.
The poem was selected from hundreds of entries by a panel of well-known songwriters and musicians, and then transformed into a song composed by Sam Butler, Jr. of of the Original Blind Boys of Alabama and performed by him at the Gala.
"The song is just amazing, and hearing it performed at the Gala was an incredible experience" said Kate. "We are so grateful to CTK Foundation for this generous grant which will allow us to provide 35 families with enough furniture to fill their empty apartments and help them rebuild their lives with dignity. And having a song from such a legendary group as the Original Blind Boys of Alabama will help raise our profile in the community, drive donations and connect people to the meaning of our mission."
Special thanks to Bill Scher, who wrote the poem that inspired the song!
Sittin' 'Round the Table
by Bill Scher
I got me eggs and a bottle of milk,
Some butter and a bag of flour.
But better'n that a table, too,
To sit around when the hot bread comes...
A table to put the hot bread on
And talk and eat 'til the bread is gone.
The memory's gone, when I had just hope.
For truly said, I had no bed.
But now I do.
and with it every day some sleep.
And hope's no longer all I have,
For now, as well, I have a bed.
Hear the song and view some photos from the 2013 Heart and Soul Awards Gala click here
"Take It or Leave It" in White Plains
Last summer, Furniture Sharehouse teamed up with the City of White Plains and its innovative “Take It Or Leave It” Program to help save more usable furniture from the waste stream. A collection bin was placed adjacent to White Plains’ TILI Shed at its Gedney Recycling Yard. Furniture items that were too large for the TILI Program but suitable for families in need were saved in the bin and periodically collected and brought to our warehouse.
This exciting collaboration was beneficial on several fronts, enabling White Plains residents to bring their usable furniture to a local collection site and saving Furniture Sharehouse expensive trucking fees. Two bins full of great furniture were collected during TILI’s April to October collection season.
Special thanks to Go-Mini’s Portable Storage Clancy Moving Systems, Inc. for the donation of the 20’ storage container at the Gedney Yard; to EcoNeighbors, the White Plains volunteer group that staffs the TILI Shed; and to the White Plains Department of Public Works personnel who helped with logisitics.
We look forward to re-opening our White Plains collection site again in April. We are also in discussions with several other municipalities and hope to establish similar collection bins in other locations this spring – stay tuned!
Warehouse will be open on Saturday May 18th to accept drop-off donations
NOTE: Please do not leave any items at the warehouse when we are not open - the furniture gets ruined in the rain and we have to pay to dispose of it!
Now It’s Your Turn Foundation Provides Volunteers for Furniture Sharehouse’s NEW “Third Saturday of Service”
On Saturday, September 9th, six volunteers from Now It's Your Turn Foundation spent two hours working at our warehouse on our FIRST-EVER "Third Saturday of Service". Volunteers helped re-organize the warehouse – reorganizing the jumble of chairs and lamps in the back room, sorting through and matching up dining room tabletops, legs, pedestals and leaves and preparing a storage room for some renovation work – much-needed "tidying up" that we can't get to during the week when we are serving clients.
Furniture Sharehouse's NEW "Third Saturday of Service" has a two-fold purpose. First, it allows us to be open to receive drop-off donations on the THIRD Saturday of every month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., which we hope will encourage folks to bring their furniture to us and save us on expensive trucking fees. And secondly, it provides volunteer groups like NIYT an opportunity to help us out with a couple of hours of vital warehouse organizing on a monthly basis.
Now It's Your Turn Foundation's mission is to host, support and provide funding to various community organizations with the goal of empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things. www.nowitsyourturn.org. Their members are young people (mostly twenty-somethings) drawn from the tri-state area, and they organize monthly volunteer opportunities for their members, and periodic multi-project days of service. This was their THIRD time volunteering at the warehouse in the last 18 months – that makes them certified "furniture wranglers" in our book!
Tempur-Pedic, United Way of Westchester & Putnam Donate 106 Mattresses
On June 2nd, Furniture Sharehouse received a donation of 106 mattresses from Tempur-Pedic that was made possible by the United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Gift-in-Kind Program.
Kate Bialo, Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse, says beds are the biggest need clients have.
“Every day furniture is thrown away because people don’t know where to donate it. At the same time, we see others who are in such desperate need” said Naomi Adler, Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Our Gifts-in-Kind program helps put an end to the waste by getting donations to the charities that need them most”.
The Manning family of Yonkers was one of the first families to receive some of the Tempur-Pedic mattresses. Their four young sons, who had been sleeping on broken mattresses,were having a hard time in school because they couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. “They are tired during the day because of the restless sleep and their concentration isn’t where it needs to be” said Cassandra Manning. “This will be a tremendous help for our family and I am just so very grateful.”
Furniture Sharehouse also thanks John and Connie Levene and CONRI Services of Hawthorne, who donated free storage and transportation for the mattresses so they can be distributed a few dozen at a time.
Patch Volunteers Volunteer at the Warehouse
On Feb. 17, five volunteers from The Patch spent several hours at the Warehouse, organizing rows of sofas, chairs and bookshelves and removing three truckloads of unusable furniture.
"I was glad that we could donate our time to the Furniture Sharehouse for the latest Give 5,” said Rich Bobé, a Patch advertising manager. “It was very rewarding to know that our work, along with the continual work of Kate Bialo and her regular volunteers, was helping families in need get the furniture throughout Westchester."
The Furniture Sharehouse thanks The Patch for their help.
To read more, see The Patch article.
In the News
- The Patch, March 21, 2011: Furniture Donation Drive at Mamaroneck High School a Success
- Junior League of Westchester on the Sound: 2010 - What a Year for Furniture Sharehouse!
- The Patch, Feb. 25, 2011: Furniture Sharehouse Helps Families in Need
- The Patch, Jan. 21,2011: Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Presented to Community Service Advocate
- The Loop, Jan. 20, 2011: In the Spirit of Dr. King: Making Houses Homes
- The Patch, Dec. 28, 2010: Founder of Furniture Sharehouse to be Honored for Community Service
- Larchmont Gazette, March 12, 2010: Sharehouse & MHS Partner on Furniture Drive: March 20
- LoHud.com, Jan. 10, 2010: Larchmont volunteer furnishes help to families - with furniture
- Home Furnishings Business, Oct. 26, 2009: N.Y. Furniture Bank Holds Fall Drives
- LoHud.com, October 22, 2009: Furniture Bank Plans Donation Drive
- Westchester.com, October 19, 2009: Furniture Sharehouse Fall Furniture Drives
- Westchester.com, September 20, 2009: Furniture Drive to Help Needy Families
- Rye Sound Shore Review, Sept. 24, 2009: Furniture Sharehouse's Fall Furniture Drive
- Larchmont Gazette, April 3, 2009: Furniture Sharehouse County-Wide Drive April 25
- White Plains CitizenNetReporter, August 10, 2008: Furniture Sharehouse Open for Donations
- Westchester Times Tribune, July 24, 2008: Westchester's Furniture Bank Gets a Facelift
- Larchmont Gazette, May 1, 2008: Furniture Sharehouse Launches "Mattresses for Moms" Drive
- Larchmont Gazette, April 24, 2006: New Furniture Sharehouse Restocks Flooded Homes
Stay up-to-date on all the news about Furniture Sharehouse and the clients we serve by signing up for our newsletter. We promise to keep your contact information confidential.
You can also learn more about Furniture Sharehouse by following the links below.